Loadmaster Chronicles

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Air Force. In the s, the U.

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Air Force began looking for a replacement for its Lockheed C Hercules tactical cargo aircraft. Compounding matters, USAF needed increased strategic airlift capabilities to fulfill its rapid-deployment airlift requirements. McDonnell Douglas elected to develop a new aircraft based on the YC Lockheed submitted two designs, a Cbased design and an enlarged C design.

On 28 August , McDonnell Douglas was chosen to build its proposed aircraft, then designated C Compared to the YC, the new aircraft differed in having swept wings, increased size, and more powerful engines. Alternative proposals were pursued to fill airlift needs after the C-X contest. Limited budgets reduced program funding, requiring a delay of four years.

During this time contracts were awarded for preliminary design work and for the completion of engine certification. Development problems and limited funding caused delays in the late s. Both wings buckled rear to the front and failures occurred in stringers, spars and ribs. In April , the C program remained over budget, and did not meet weight, fuel burn, payload and range specifications.

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It failed several key criteria during airworthiness evaluation tests. When considering runway dimensions and load ratings, the C's worldwide runway advantage over the C-5 shrank from 6, to airfields. The report also stated that "current military doctrine that does not reflect the use of small, austere airfields". So the C's short field capability was not yet considered. Airflow issues prevented the C from meeting airdrop requirements. In , DoD ordered another 80 aircraft for a total of In April , Boeing proposed cutting the price of the C if the Air Force bought 60 more, [35] and in August , the order was increased to aircraft.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that there would be no more Cs ordered beyond the planned. In , Boeing reduced the C production rate to 10 aircraft per year from a high of 16 per year. This was due to dwindling orders and to extend the life of the production line while additional international orders were sought. The workforce was reduced by approximately 1, through , and a second shift at the Long Beach assembly plant was also eliminated.

In September , Boeing announced that C production was starting to close down. In October , the main wing spar of the th and last aircraft was completed; this C was delivered in , after which Boeing will close the Long Beach plant. The C is projected to be in service for several decades. The size and weight of U. The engine's thrust reversers direct engine exhaust air upwards and forward, reducing the chances of foreign object damage by ingestion of runway debris, and providing enough reverse thrust to back the aircraft up on the ground while taxiing.

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The thrust reversers can also be used in flight at idle-reverse for added drag in maximum-rate descents. For cargo operations the C requires a crew of three: pilot, copilot, and loadmaster. The cargo floor has rollers for palletized cargo but it can be flipped to provide a flat floor suitable for vehicles and other rolling stock.

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Cargo is loaded through a large aft ramp that accommodates rolling stock , such as a ton metric ton M1 Abrams main battle tank , other armored vehicles, trucks, and trailers, along with palletized cargo. Boeing informally calls these aircraft the C ER. It is designed to airdrop paratroopers and their equipment. Army's canceled Ground Combat Vehicle was to be transported by the C In addition, the C can operate from unpaved, unimproved runways although with greater chance of damage to the aircraft.

The first C squadron, the 17th Airlift Squadron , became operationally ready on 17 January On 26 March , nearly 1, U. This was the first combat insertion of paratroopers using the C The only Guard Unit to receive sequential serial number aircraft. The Mississippi Air Guard currently operates 8 C aircraft. Cs delivered military goods during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq as well as humanitarian aid missions in the immediate aftermath of the Haiti earthquake , the Sindh floods delivering thousands of food rations, tons of medical and emergency supplies.

A C accompanies the President of the United States on his visits to both domestic and foreign arrangements, consultations, and meetings. There was debate over follow-on C orders, Air Force having requested line shutdown while Congress attempted to reinstate production. Pending the delivery of the results of two studies in , Lichte observed that the production line may remain open for further Cs to satisfy airlift requirements.

The Strategic Defence Review identified a requirement for a strategic airlifter. The RAF had the option to buy or return the aircraft to Boeing. The lease agreement restricted the operational use of the Cs, meaning that the RAF could not use them for para-drop, airdrop, rough field, low-level operations and air to air refuelling.

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The RAF aircraft were some of the first to take advantage of the new center wing fuel tank found in Block 13 aircraft. The RAF declared itself delighted with the C Although the Globemaster fleet was to be a fallback for the AM, the Ministry of Defence MoD announced on 21 July that they had elected to buy their four Cs at the end of the lease, [75] even though the AM appeared to be closer to production.

Another C was ordered in August , and delivered on 22 February The four leased Cs were to be purchased later in The aircraft transported French armored vehicles to the Malian capital of Bamako during the French Intervention in Mali. The C was considered to be favored over the AM as it was a "proven aircraft" and in production.

RAAF aircraft were ordered directly from the USAF production run and are identical to American C even in paint scheme, the only difference being the national markings. This allowed delivery to commence within nine months of commitment to the program. On 2 March , the Australian government announced the purchase of three aircraft and one option with an entry into service date of The aircraft was formally accepted in a ceremony at Fairbairn shortly after arrival.

The fourth Australian C was delivered on 19 January On 18 April , Boeing announced that Australia had signed an agreement with the U. Foreign Military Sales program; it was ordered in June , and was delivered on 1 November The Canadian Forces has had a long-standing need for strategic airlift for military and humanitarian operations around the world. In , the Canadian Forces Future Strategic Airlifter Project began to study alternatives, including long-term leasing arrangements.

Air Force, to accelerate delivery. On 23 July , the first Canadian C made its initial flight. The last of the initial four aircraft was delivered in April In , they supported Operation Reassurance and Operation Impact. On 19 December , it was reported that Canada's Defence Department intended to purchase one more C The second and third Cs were delivered in September and October The Heavy Airlift Wing is hosted by Hungary, which acts as the flag nation. The aircraft provides strategic airlift and the ability to deploy special forces, such as during national emergencies.

The Skylords regularly fly missions within India, such as to high-altitude bases at Leh and Thoise. In June , the U. Foreign Military Sale that includes spare parts and support.

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The sale, if finalized, would increase the Indian Air Force's fleet to 11 Cs. Kuwait requested the purchase of one C in September and a second in April through the U. Air Force fact sheet, [55] Boeing, [] []. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other aircraft with this designation, see C disambiguation.

Four engine military transport aircraft.

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