McDONNELL DOUGLAS (MDC) has submitted a proposal to the US Air Force covering the purchase of up to another 88 aircraft at prices ranging from $212 million, down to around $190 million per unit.

The proposal was submitted to the USAF as part of the preparations for the upcoming Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) programme review in November. This will determine how many more C-17 Globemasters will be purchased beyond the 40 already on order, as well as whether to buy a fleet of non-developmental transports such as the Boeing 747-400.

Part of the MDC bid concerns the eight aircraft contained within Lot 8 of the initial production batch already contracted for by the USAF. The remaining 80 are included as part of a longer-term proposal which would enable MDC to cut unit costs by increasing the production rate between 1996 and 2004.

MDC's cost-cutting drive means that even if fewer C-17s are bought, they will be offered at between $212 million and $210 million a unit based on a production rate of between six and eight a year, compared to around $323 million on average to date.

Around $186 million would be accounted for by MDC and contractors, while the balance of the unit cost would be made up by Pratt & Whitney for the four engines.

If the USAF elects to push for the full 120-strong fleet, MDC says that the unit price could drop to between $190 million and $200 million, based on a production rate of 15 a year.

Source: Flight International