Boeing has delivered the second of three C-17 airlifters acquired by a 12-nation group of NATO and Partnership for Peace states that is targeted by the manufacturer for additional sales.
The new C-17, designated SAC 02, will be operated by the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) consortium, under the co-ordination of the NATO Airlift Management Organisation (NAMO). The transport was handed over at Boeing's Long Beach production facility in California on 17 September.
© Michael Gail/Boeing
The SAC group includes 10 NATO members: Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the USA; plus PfP members Finland and Sweden.
The US Air Force has already donated one of the 213 C-17s ordered for its fleet. This was flown to the NATO Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa air base in Hungary in July, and has just delivered its first equipment in support of coalition operations in Afghanistan. Funds contributed by the 11 other SAC members paid for the other two aircraft. Boeing says it will complete deliveries in early October.
The manufacturer is hoping that the larger countries represented by NAMO will increase their participation in the SAC consortium, which might justify the purchase of additional aircraft. It is also looking for Italy to rejoin the group after withdrawing from the initiative.
Boeing currently is in discussions with potential buyers for one C-17 "white tail", an aircraft being assembled before an order is confirmed.