FARN10: Will Boeing fatten order book with slimmer C-17?

Call it the C-17 Stairmaster.

It’s Boeing’s latest idea for a design refresh that retains the wing and T-tail, but narrows the fuselage by 4ft.

Boeing unveiled the idea for a more “fuel-efficient” C-17FE at a lightly-attended press conference today.

The design concept shrinks the airlifter’s cross-section to the minimum required to accommodate a fully-armoured Stryker vehicle, says Tom Dunehew, vice president of C-17 business development.

As a trade-off, the C-17FE will not be able to carry an unspecified list of outsize equipment, but Dunehew declined to name them.

The idea also borrows upgrades from Boeing’s earlier concept for the C-17B, including improved flaps, a 13% engine thrust upgrade and a precision landing augmentation system. Unlike the C-17B, the fuel-efficient concept omits the addition of a centre-line landing gear.

Dunehew also declines to estimate development costs, but says it would cost far less than to design an entirely new airframe. He acknowledges that launching the program would require a significant order to justify the development costs.

Boeing is continuing to evaluate new designs for the C-17. Asked whether Boeing has ever considered installing GE90-class engines on a twin-engined C-17, Dunehew replied that it was feasible. However, as a tactical airlifter, four engines are necessary to minimize the risk of a crash caused by an engine-out problem on takeoff.


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9 Responses to FARN10: Will Boeing fatten order book with slimmer C-17?

  1. Eamon Hamilton 21 July, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

    “Four engines good, two engines bad!”

    Current C-17A cargo dimensions are 18 feet. Assuming that the C-17FE will sacrifice four feet from its internal cargo bay – although it could well be less – it looks like it cut capacity from three UH60s to just two, and maybe still fit a CH47. It will also limit it to single aisle row of 463L pallets, but with plenty of space along the sides.

    I’m guessing LM’s quiet on the C-130J XL concept?

  2. Matthew G. Saroff 22 July, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    If you want a transport with greater fuel efficiency, you go with a modified low wing commercial transport, and you get a 5+% increase in speed as well.

  3. Distiller 22 July, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Is someone positioning himself to defend against the 400M?

  4. Moose 22 July, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    Yes and no, Dist, Slim-17 is more a reaction to C-17′s own sales issues than a response to the A400M. The Slim-17 is an attempt to keep the C-17 line open by putting out a more “affordable” variant for customers put off by C-17a’s high cost. There is of course an A400M effect on the market, Since the alternatives available are limited at the moment some put off by C-17′s costs are going to A400M.

    The C-130J XL is more of a direct A400M competitor, meant to recapture sales lost not due to price but due to a performance deficit.

  5. Alpharetta Auto Repair 23 July, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    Thank you for a great post

  6. Best Radar Detectors 23 July, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Reason is the wise mans guide example the fools.

  7. chris horan 24 July, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    mel gibson is a shocking example of a bad person!!!! how many more times can he offend pretty much everyone he comes into contact with? i can’t stand to consider what the next conceited thing to come out of his mouth could be, i really can’t stand the man… so well maybe he made a few almost watchable movies!!! don’t forget he also made a whole lot more really poor ones!!! my two cents.

  8. C. Reed 26 July, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    The more things change, the more they stay the same – I wonder if Boeing might end up dusting off the original YC-15 design again…

  9. Micah Mccrane 23 September, 2010 at 3:42 am #

    Mel needs some decent therapy to straighten him up!

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