After a long and unexpectedly successful production run, SecDef Bob Gates made killing the C-17 one of his top four priorities in FY2010/2011. Gates's win capped an astonishing $10 billion in congressional insertions since 2007, adding 43 planes to the program.
Yet the C-17 looks set to escape the hangman's noose, for now at least. Export customers continue to buy this rather useful plane. The RAF has ordered its eighth. The UAE has ordered six. India has signed for ten and could increase that to 16. These, along with other export users are the first export customers for any Western strategic lifter. They will likely be joined by others, most notably Saudi Arabia. This means the line has four more years, at least. It also means that it has lived to see Gates's departure, al-though that no longer means any-thing. The budget is falling, and despite the pivot to Asia, military lift does not look set to benefit. The C-5A RERP is dead. The C-27 JCA is dead. The C-X (the C-17's replacement) has been delayed by a decade. And most of all, there's no talk of more C-17s.
The result is that the US military has no money for new lifter development on the horizon, and no money to keep its only strategic lifter line open. In a few years the USAF will need to think about replacing early production planes that have been used at a much faster than expected rate. But nobody is in the mood to think ahead right now.
Teal Group offers online access to all our products through the web. Contact our Sales Staff to obtain a user ID and password for online access. Instructions for accessing the Online Demo are found below. You will only have access to the Online Demo product. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the reports on the online access site.
To inquire about online access and site licenses please contact Mr. Tim Storey.