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Tue, Dec 19, 2006

C-17 Program Gains Additional Orders From USAF

Pentagon Authorizes Funds For 10 More Transports

Things are looking up in Long Beach, CA, where Boeing builds the C-17 Globemaster III transport plane. The Pentagon announced Monday a new order for 10 more of the four-engine heavy lifters for the US Air Force, which should extend production for at least a year beyond original predictions.

Reuters reports the $2 billion fixed-price contract for fiscal year 2007, which began October 1, is in addition to the 180 C-17s already ordered by the USAF.

As Aero-News has reported, production on the C-17 was slated to end in 2008, after the Air Force had capped its order due to budget constraints.

The new order, combined with recent commitments from international customers, should see production last through late-2009, representatives with Boeing said.

The advanced four-engine C-17 has come into its own in the last several years. Analysts state the plane's high usage rate in Iraq and Afghanistan convinced lawmakers of the need for additional aircraft.

Boeing had spent approximately $10 million of its own funds to keep C-17 production going through a drought in orders.

"Congressional funding of these aircraft is a significant endorsement of the C-17's vital role in fighting the global war on terrorism and in providing humanitarian relief at home and around the world," said Boeing spokeswoman Kerry Gildea.

Boeing is taking a proactive stance in securing even more orders. The company has already urged the Air Force to buy 12 more C-17s, starting in fiscal year 2008.

FMI: www.boeing.com

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