Canada's first of four C-17 strategic transports performed a 3h 45min debut flight from Boeing's Long Beach site in California on 23 July, ahead of its delivery to CFB Trenton, Ontario, on 8 August. Part of a defence transformation programme dubbed 'Canada First', the acquisition is worth some C$3.4 billion ($3.26 billion).
Ottawa's second C-17 will be handed over in October, with its remaining two aircraft to arrive in the first quarter of 2008. Other airlift assets to be purchased under the 'Canada First' plan are expected to include 17 Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports and 16 Boeing CH-47F Chinook transport helicopters.
Canada will follow the USA, the UK and Australia in taking delivery of the C-17. The UK Ministry of Defence on 26 July announced its intention to buy a sixth example, for delivery in late 2008 or early 2009. The Royal Air Force's fifth C-17 will be handed over next February, having recently entered final assembly at Long Beach.