The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military airlift aircraft is a high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed military transport vehicle capable of carrying payloads up to 169,000lb (76,657kg).
It has an international range and the ability to land on small airfields. A fully integrated electronic cockpit and advanced cargo system allows a crew of three (the pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster) to operate all systems on any type of mission.
In February 2009, a $2.95bn contract was awarded to Boeing to deliver 15 additional C-17s for the US Air Force. Two C-17s were delivered to the Stewart Air National Guard Base in July 2011.
Since it entered service in January 1995, 218 aircraft have been delivered to the US Air Force.
C-17 design features
A propulsive lift system allows the C-17 to achieve safe landings on short runways. The C-17 is capable of landing a full payload in less than 3,000ft. The propulsive lift system uses engine exhaust to generate lift.
The engine exhaust is directed onto large flaps, which extend into the exhaust stream, allowing the aircraft to fly a steep approach at a relatively low landing speed.
A Honeywell auxiliary power unit (APU) turbine is fitted in the front of the right main landing gear sponson to provide engine starting and ground power; a “ram air turbine” will be extended from the right sponson in the case of a comprehensive power failure, to provide hydraulic system power for minimal flight control. There are six fuel tanks in the wings, with a total capacity of 102,614 liters (27,108 US gallons), and an inflight refueling socket behind the cockpit. An inert-gas generation system helps reduce fuel system fires or explosions. In later production, at least some C-17s were fitted with a wing center-section tank with a capacity of 36,340 liters (9,600 US gallons) of fuel, these aircraft being informally designated as “C-17 ER”. It is unclear if the entire fleet has been kitted up to ER specification.
The nose landing gear has two wheels, while each of the two main gear assemblies has six wheels in two rows of three. The nose gear retracts forward and is steerable by rudder pedals, as well as a tiller for tight ground maneuvering. The main gear extends straight down from its sponsons; all landing gear assemblies will open by gravity in case of system failure. The landing gear can support steep-angle combat zone landings. Source @airvectors.net
The aircraft is capable of turning in a small radius and can complete a 180° star turn in 80ft. The aircraft can also carry out routine backing. A fully loaded aircraft is capable of backing up a 2% gradient slope using the directed flow thrust reversers.
Cockpit of the C-17 Globemaster III
Image @airteamimages.comC-17 Overhead Panel – Image @robgraham.info
The C-17 cockpit accommodates pilot, co-pilot and two observer positions. The digital avionics system has four Honeywell multifunction cathode-ray tube displays, two full-capability HUDs (head-up displays) plus cargo systems.
The quadruple-redundant electronic flight control system also has a mechanically-actuated backup system.
CMC Electronics’ GPS Receiver Selected By BAE Systems
The CMC Electronics’ latest-generation, high-performance aviation Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, known as the CMA-4124, has been selected by BAE Systems North America – Communications, Navigation, Information and Reconnaissance Division (BAE-CNI) – for integration into its Precision Landing System Receiver (PLSR). In turn, the PLSR has been selected by Boeing for the C-17 Globemaster III Avionics Upgrade Program. Source @aero-news.net
IntegriFlight™ – SBAS CMA-4124 GNSSA Aviation Precision Approach GPS Receiver
- All hardware and software has been developed entirely at CMC Electronics, all aviation GPS receivers are manufactured at CMC Electronics. Full OEM customer support including certification.
- Software and firmware certified to DO-178B Level B and DO-254 Level B, designed to Level A
- Certified to TSO-C145c, Beta-3 and TSO-C146c, Delta-4.
- The SBAS CMA-4124 is available in several configurations, including SA-Aware only for specific non-SBAS applications.
- 24 narrow correlator simultaneous channels, all of which can be used for simultaneous satellite tracking, up to 4 may be assigned as SBAS channels.
- Fault Detection and Exclusion (FDE), Integrity Monitoring, and automatic baro-altimeter incorporation as per DO-229D.
- Certified as single-string CAT-I Precision Approach system, provides ILS look-alike GS and LOC guidance LPV approach solution.
- Highly stable precision oscillator for maximum continuity of operation.
- Supports 9 ARINC inputs, 5 ARINC outputs, 4 RS-232/422 serial I/O, 16 discrete I/Os.
- Full temperature range from -55C to +75C.
- Comprehensive end-to-end receiver Built-in-Test (BIT).
- Designed for incorporation into all aviation systems such as Multi-Mode Receivers (MMRs), GPS Landing Systems (GLSs), Flight Management Systems (FMSs), from General Aviation to Air Transport.
- Outstanding MTBF and reliability.
- Growth path to GBAS including GBAS CAT-II/III.
- World-class customer support for all applications.
Type 2 Active Antenna Ports with 2 GPS L1 RF channels, 24 parallel Narrow Correlator ® digital processing channels
Frequency L1, 1575.42 MHz, C/A code
Acquisition Sensitivity -134 dBm @ 32.87 dB Hz C/No
Tracking Sensitivity -134 dBm @ 31.04 dB Hz C/No
Time to First Fix < 75 seconds maximum, 95% confidence Hor.
Position Accuracy 15 meters, 95%, S/A off
Differential Better than 1.0 meters, 95%
Altitude Accuracy 20 meters, 95%, S/A off
Velocity Accuracy 0.5 knots, 95%, S/A off (0.33kts horizontal, 68 ft/min. vertical)
Position Update 10 independent solutions per seconds (10Hz solution rate)
Language Ada Level DO-178B
Level A design DO-178B, Level B certified
Level DO-254 Level A Design DO-254 Level B Certified
Processor Pentium Equivalent
There are two Lockheed Martin central processing computers, one Hamilton Sundstrand data management computer and two Honeywell air data computers.
A programme to upgrade the C-17A avionics includes new mission computers and displays, new software for the warning and caution system, provided by Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems. The automatic flight control system is upgraded with BAE Systems CsLEOS real-time operating system is certified for GATM (global air traffic management) system requirements.
APS-150/RDR-4000M Weather Radar
The Honeywell RDR-4000 is an advanced weather hazard and avoidance radar for both commercial and large military aircraft. Also known as IntuVue (for intuitive view), it is certified by the U.S. FAA for commercial use. The RDR-4000 collects a complete 3-D volumetric scan of the weather and terrain ahead of the aircraft, always showing the most reflective part of storm cells. The radar contains an internal worldwide terrain database, enabling it to extract ground clutter without the significant losses associated with ground suppression techniques. The data in the buffer continuously updates and compensates for aircraft movement.
The military version of the RDR-4000 radar is called the RDR-4000M, or APS-150. In addition to the weather, windshear, and turbulence detection features, the military radar provides a high-resolution ground map mode, a “skin paint” mode to better detect the returns from the skin of other aircraft, and a master cut-off switch for silent operations. The APS-150 equips USAF C-17 Globemasters, and sales will continue to support this platform. Another APS-150 platform is the Kawasaki C-2 tactical transport; Japan is looking to purchase 40-60 aircraft. In addition, EADS has chosen the APS-150 to equip its multinational A400M military transport. The A400M should be a major boost to APS-150 production. Source @forecastinternational.com
Cargo systems on Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster III
The design of the cargo compartment allows the C-17 to carry a wide range of vehicles, palleted cargo, paratroops, air-drop loads and aeromedical evacuees.
Image @airteamimages.comImage @zimbio.com
The cargo compartment has a sufficiently large cross-section to transport large wheeled and tracked vehicles, tanks, helicopters (such as the AH-64 Apache), artillery and weapons such as the Patriot missile system. Three Bradley armoured vehicles comprise one deployment load on the C-17. The US Army M1A1 main battle tank can be carried with other vehicles.
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III carrying an M1A1 tank with minesweeping outfit – Image @oddstuffmagazine.com
The maximum payload is 170,900lb (77,519kg) with 18 pallet positions, including four on the ramp. Airdrop capabilities include: a single load of up to 60,000lb (27,216kg), sequential loads of up to 110,000lb (49,895kg), Container Delivery System (CDS) airdrop up to 40 containers, 2,350lb (1,066kg) each, up to 102 paratroops.
The transport aircraft is equipped for LAPES (low-altitude parachute extraction system) drops. For Medevac, the C-17 can transport up to 36 litter and 54 ambulatory patients and attendants. C-17s can take off from a 7,600ft airfield, fly 2,400nm and refuel while in flight. It can land on a 3,500ft-long (1,064m) and 90ft-wide (27.4m) airstrip.
The aircraft is operated by a crew of three (pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster), reducing both manpower requirements and operating costs. This cost-effective flight crew complement is made possible through the use of an advanced digital avionics system and advanced cargo systems. In the cargo compartment, the C-17 carries the Army’s wheeled vehicles in two side-by-side rows. For example, three combat-ready Stryker vehicles or 10 HMMWV (Humvees) comprise one deployment load. Also, the C-17 is able to transport the M1 Abrams main battle tank. Furthermore, the C-17 can carry up to 102 troops, 36 litter patients, or 18 standard 463-L pallets. Cargo and vehicles are loaded onto the C-17 through a large aft door that accommodates military vehicles and palletized cargo. The C-17 can carry virtually all of the Army’s air-transportable equipment. Source @bga-aeroweb.com
- Crew: 3: 2 pilots, 1 loadmaster (for aeromedical evacuation, five additional personnel required)
- 102 paratroopers or
- 134 troops with palletized and sidewall seats or
- 54 troops with sidewall seats (allows 13 cargo pallets) only or
- 36 litter and 54 ambulatory patients and medical attendants or
- Cargo, such as an M1 Abrams tank, three Strykers, or six M1117 Armored Security Vehicles
- Payload: 170,900 lb (77,520 kg) of cargo distributed at max over 18 463L master pallets or a mix of palletized cargo and vehicles
- Length: 174 ft (53 m)
- Wingspan: 169.8 ft (51.75 m)
- Height: 55.1 ft (16.8 m)
- Wing area: 3,800 ft² (353 m²)
- Empty weight: 282,500 lb (128,100 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 585,000 lb (265,350 kg)
- Powerplant: 4 × Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofans, 40,440 lbf (180 kN) each
- Fuel capacity: 35,546 U.S. gal (134,556 L)
The AN/AAR-47 has a suite of surface-mounted thermal sensors around the aircraft, which detect the thermal signature of the missile exhaust plume. Frequency selection and signal processing techniques are used to minimise the false alarm rate.
AN/AAR-47 missile warning system
The AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System is a Missile Approach Warning system used on slow moving aircraft such as helicopters and military transport aircraft to notify the pilot of threats and to trigger the aircraft’s countermeasures systems. Its main users are the U.S Army, Navy and Air Force, but is also operated by other countries. Originally developed by Loral (now part of BAE Systems), it has been solely a product of Alliant Techsystems(ATK) since 2002.
The AN/AAR-47 passively detects missiles by their Ultraviolet signature, and uses algorithms to differentiate between incoming missiles and false alarms. Newer versions also have laser warning sensors and are capable of detecting a wider range of threats. After processing the nature of the threat, the system gives the pilot an audio and visual warning, and indicates the direction of the incoming threat. It also sends a signal to the aircraft’s infrared countermeasures system, which can then for example deploy flares.
The AAR-47 missile warning system consists of 4 Optical Sensor Converters (OSC), a Computer Processor and a Control Indicator. The system is relatively light at a total weight of approximately 32 pounds.
There is one optical sensor converter for each side of the aircraft. They have an infrared camera for detecting incoming missiles. The Optical modules since version AAR-47(V)2 include a laser warning sensor, and versions since AAR-47A(V)2 further incorporate an ultraviolet sensor for improved dynamic blanking laser warning detection.
The computer processor evaluates the data from the OSC:s and analyzes whether a detected event is an incoming missile. If a threat is detected, it sends a signal to the control indicator which informs the crew, and the aircraft’s infrared countermeasures system.
The system provides a warning to the crew via the cockpit indicator unit of the presence and direction of the missile threat. A signal is automatically sent to the ALE-47 dispenser.
The AN/ALE-47 is capable of carrying a mix of expendable countermeasures, including jammers. The system interfaces to the C-17 aircraft’s sensors. The aircrew can select the mode of operation of the dispenser for fully automatic, semi-automatic or manual operation.
AN/ALE-47 countermeasures system
In response to automated warnings of radar, infrared, laser and other threats against aircraft, theAN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System (CMDS) both assists the crew in staying aware of the threats, and managing the deployment of electronic warfare devices that operate externally to the vehicle. “Electronic”, in this context, covers enemy sensors across the electromagnetic spectrum. Electronic defense includes, as well as receivers and computers that detect and analyze threats, both countermeasures that are part of the aircraft, but also expendables that are released from it.
In other words, it both acts as an electronics countermeasures suite controller and as an electronic warfare expendables dispenser. It replaces the AN/ALE-39. Alternatively, it can be controlled by other control systems, such as the AN/ALQ-213.
The cockpit control unit can be used to input mission data, together with the numbers and types of expendable countermeasures systems loaded into the ALE-47. The cockpit controller updates and displays the status of the dispenser and the numbers and types of countermeasures remaining.
The ALE-47 is capable of dispensing the new-generation active expendable decoys, POET and GEN-X, in addition to the conventional chaff and flare decoys that are compatible with the previous-generation ALE-40 and ALE-39 dispensers.
A total of 56 USAF C-17 aircraft are equipped with the Northrop Grumman large aircraft infra-red countermeasures (LAIRCM) system.
The AN/AAQ-24(V) Directional Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) system is the only DIRCM system in production today that will protect aircraft from today’s infrared guided missiles.
Traditional IR countermeasures are not effective against the modern IR missiles that are growing in popularity among terrorist groups and in thirdworld countries. A Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) system is required to defeat the latest and future advanced IR threats, and has a lower life cycle cost compared to other IR countermeasure approaches.
- Simultaneously tracks and defeats threats in clutter environments
- Fast, accurate threat detection and simultaneous jamming in all current IR threat Bands (I, II and IV)
- Counters all fielded IR missile threats using a single generic jam waveform
- Complete end-to-end self-testing features reduce life-cycle maintenance
- Compatible with existing support facilities
The AAQ-24(V) is available in a laser-based configuration. Northrop Grumman then selects from a modular family of transmitters, jammers and missile warning systems to provide a customized installation best able to meet your specific platform, mission and budget requirements. Upgrades to existing systems are easy to install without further airframe modifications.
LAIRCM is based on the AN/AAQ-24(V) Nemesis. It entered low-rate initial production in August 2002 and completed initial operational test and evaluation in July 2004. 25 upgraded aircraft have been delivered. The system entered service in 2007. The four aircraft leased by the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) are fitted with LAIRCM.
Turbofan engines of the transport aircraft
The four Pratt & Whitney PW2040 (military designation-F117-PW-100) turbofan engines with 40,440lb thrust each are integrated in the wings. Engine thrust reversers, which are operable in flight, and speed brakes enable the aircraft to carry out rapid deceleration and descent manoeuvres.
The C-17 is designed to operate from runways as short as 3,500 ft (1,100 m) and as narrow as 90 ft (27 m). In addition, the C-17 can operate from unpaved, unimproved runways (although with greater chance of damage to the aircraft). The thrust reversers can be used to move the aircraft backwards and reverse direction on narrow taxiways using a three- (or more) point turn. The plane is designed for 20 man-hours of maintenance per flight hour, and a 74% mission availability rate. Source @wikiwand.com
Pratt & Whitney PW2040 (military designation-F117-PW-100) turbofan engine
|Max. thrust||43,000 lbf|
|Fan diameter||78.5 in|
The cruise speed is between Mach 0.74 and 0.77. The range without in-flight refuelling, and with a payload of 160,000lb, is 2,400nm. Aerial refuelling provides an intercontinental non-stop range.
- Cruise speed: Mach 0.74 (450 knots, 515 mph (829 km/h))
- Range: 2,420 nmi (2,785 mi (4,482 km)) ; 5,610 nmi (10,390 km) with paratroopers
- Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,716 m)
- Max. wing loading: 150 lb/ft² (750 kg/m²)
- Minimum thrust/weight: 0.277
- Takeoff run at MTOW: 7,600 ft (2,300 m)
- Landing distance: 3,500 ft (1,100 m)
End of an Era for Boeing’s C-17: Here
In 2012, the unit cost of a C-17 was $225 million. The airframe cost $178.56 million, the four F117-PW-100 engines cost $39 million ($9.75 million each), and the avionics cost $7.44 million.
The C-17 provides outsize intra-theater airland/airdrop capability not available in the current airlift force. The aircraft provides rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area.
C-17 Globemaster international orders
The C-17 fleet of UK Royal Air Force have flown more than 100,000 flight hours, as of March 2015.
RAF C-17 – Image @armyrecognition.com
In August 2006, a fifth aircraft (delivered in April 2008) was ordered and the purchase of the first four aircraft in 2008 was confirmed. In December 2007, the UK purchased a sixth aircraft, which was delivered in June 2008. Boeing delivered the seventh aircraft in November 2010. The eighth aircraft was delivered to the UK Royal Air Force in May 2012.
In March 2006, Australia selected the C-17, with a requirement for four aircraft. The first aircraft was delivered in December 2006, the second in May 2007, the third in February 2008 and the final aircraft in March 2008.
Australia signed a foreign military sale (FMS) agreement with the US Government in April 2011 to procure the fifth C-17 for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It was delivered in September 2011. An order for the sixth C-17 was placed in 2011 and the same was delivered in November 2012. Australia ordered two more aircraft in April 2015 and took delivery of the seventh in July 2015 and the eighth aircraft in November 2015.
In July 2006, Canada announced the selection of the C-17 with a requirement for four aircraft. The contract was signed in February 2007. Deliveries began in August 2007 and concluded in April 2008. An additional C-17, ordered by Canada in 2014, was delivered in March 2015.
In September 2006, Nato announced its intention to buy an initial three or four C-17 aircraft. In June 2007, an international consortium, consisting of 15 Nato countries plus two partner countries (Finland and Sweden), agreed to set up the strategic airlift capability (SAC) at Papa Air Base in Hungary.
The Nato Airlift Management Organisation (Namo) purchases, owns and manages the aircraft. A multinational military unit, the heavy airlift wing (HAW), conducts airlift operations.
In May 2008, SAC requested the foreign military sale of the first two C-17 aircraft. The first C-17 was delivered to the SAC in July 2009. The second and third C-17s were delivered in September 2009 and October 2009 respectively. The SAC1 C-17’s first flight was completed in June 2009.
In March 2007, Boeing announced C-17 production would conclude in 2009, when current orders have been fulfilled. However the purchase of 15 additional aircraft for the USAF was approved in 2008.
In July 2008, Qatar placed an order for two C-17s with an option for an additional two units. The first aircraft was delivered in August 2009, and the second in September 2009. Qatar received the third and fourth aircraft in 2012. An order for four more aircraft was placed in June 2015.
The UAE announced in February 2009 that it would acquire four C-17s. The emirates ordered a total of six C-17s in January 2010. The first C-17 was delivered to the UAE in May 2011 and the second in June 2011. The third C-17 was delivered in July 2011. The last aircraft was delivered in June 2012.
The Indian Ministry of Defence signed a $4.1bn agreement with Boeing in June 2011 to acquire ten C-17 airlifters. US Congress authorised the FMS in May 2010. The C-17 met all the Indian Air Force’s requirements during rigorous field evaluation trials held in India in June 2010. Boeing delivered the first C-17 to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in June 2013 and four more by November 2013. The remaining five were delivered in 2014. Kuwait received two C-17s in 2014.
Boeing Steers Clear of Compliance With $4.1 Bln Indian Air Force Deal: Deal
IAF C-17 – Image @globalmilitaryreview.blogspot.com
Flight-testing of the C-17 using a blend of synthetic fuel and JP-8 began in October 2007, as part of a USAF process to develop more-efficient fuel for its fleet, with less reliance on imported petrol. Certification for the aircraft powered by synthetic fuel was completed in February 2008.
Boeing has 700 suppliers in 44 states.
Map: Geographic Distribution of C-17 Subcontractors – Image @budgetinsight.wordpress.com
Unlike many other programs,taxpayers have a detailed glimpse into its supply chain, which now includes 268 firms spread across 219 cities in 36 states. The 10 aircraft included in the Pentagon’s FY10 budget will distribute $2.5 billion among these firms (pg. 16). Each is a valued part of some Congress member’s district and, seemingly not by coincidence, they are located our country’s most populous areas. Only 8% of Americans live in the 28% of states (14 out of 50) unrepresented in the C-17 supply chain (est. 07/2009). Source @budgetinsight.wordpress.com
Main material source @airforce-technology.com
Primary Function: Cargo and troop transport
Prime Contractor: Boeing Company
Power Plant: Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines
Thrust: 40,440 pounds, each engine
Wingspan: 169 feet 10 inches (to winglet tips) (51.75 meters)
Length: 174 feet (53 meters)
Height: 55 feet 1 inch (16.79 meters)
Cargo Compartment: length, 88 feet (26.82 meters); width, 18 feet (5.48 meters); height, 12 feet 4 inches (3.76 meters)
Speed: 450 knots at 28,000 feet (8,534 meters) (Mach .74)
Service Ceiling: 45,000 feet at cruising speed (13,716 meters)
Range: Global with in-flight refueling
Crew: Three (two pilots and one loadmaster)
Aeromedical Evacuation Crew: A basic crew of five (two flight nurses and three medical technicians) is added for aeromedical evacuation missions. Medical crew may be altered as required by the needs of patients
Maximum Peacetime Takeoff Weight: 585,000 pounds (265,352 kilograms)
Load: 102 troops/paratroops; 36 litter and 54 ambulatory patients and attendants; 170,900 pounds (77,519 kilograms) of cargo (18 pallet positions)
Unit Cost: $202.3 million (fiscal 1998 constant dollars)
Date Deployed: June 1993
Inventory: Active duty, 187; Air National Guard, 12; Air Force Reserve, 14