Boeing has secured a new order for two C-17s to an international consortium comprised of 10 NATO members and Finland and Sweden. The long-awaited deal was confirmed by the signing of the strategic airlift capability memorandum of understanding, creating a Heavy Airlift Wing for conducting operational and humanitarian flights for members of the consortium.

The wing, based in Hungary, will consist of three C-17s, of which two will be purchased by the 12-nation consortium and one will be donated by the US Air Force. All three aircraft will be delivered before the fourth quarter of 2009.

Boeing now has six customers that have ordered 208 C-17s, including 190 by the USAF. The company expects Congress to approve funding for the USAF to buy 15 more C-17s by the end of October, potentially raising overall orders to 223 and extending production at least a year to 2010.


The latest order comes after two years of negotiations on terms and agreements among consortium members.

"The strategic airlift capability will provide an important new capability to address the critical alliance need for strategic airlift to support operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, as well as other national missions, including European Union and UN missions," says Peter Flory, NATO assistant secretary general for defence investment. "It can also provide a model for future capability development."

Source: Flight International