Dramatic configuration changes are on the way for the Boeing C-17. Picture: Crown copyright
The four-way battle for the Western military airlift market has never been more intense. The Boeing C-17 is fighting to survive even as Airbus Military pulls the A400M through fiscal uncertainty and Lockheed Martin's C-5M re-engining programme breathes new life in the venerable strategic airlifter. Meanwhile, Lockheed's C-130J faces new doubts at home even as it makes deeper inroads overseas. All four are set to clash in the US market. The stage is set for surprises as Boeing and Lockheed contemplate dramatic configuration changes to the C-17 and C-130J, respectively and Airbus plays a US wild card having identified a gap in the US Air Force's otherwise robust airlift capability. It is a new era in the competition for airlift.