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PICTURES: Qatar receives first C-17 strategic transport

Boeing delivered the first of two C-17 strategic transports to Qatar on 11 August. The milestone represents the type's first foray into service with a Middle Eastern operator.

Registered as MAA and first flown on 27 July, the aircraft was accepted at Boeing's Long Beach production facility in California by Brig Gen Ahmad Al Malki, head of Qatar's airlift selection committee.

© Boeing

"The Qatar Emiri Air Force now has unequalled tactical and strategic airlift capabilities that enhance our ability to transport troops and equipment, and to support humanitarian operations throughout the Middle East and south Asia," Al Malki says.

© Paul Pinner/Boeing

Qatar signed a deal with Boeing for two C-17s in July 2008. It will receive its second example before year-end. Aircraft MAB has already been seen at Long Beach painted in its delivery scheme - the colours of flag carrier Qatar Airways. Sources say the transport will be operated purely by the Gulf state's air force, despite its civilian livery.

The 11 August delivery means Boeing has now supplied 16 C-17s to international operators, in addition to 189 for the US Air Force.

Qatar's airlift modernisation effort will also include the introduction of four stretched-fuselage Lockheed Martin C-130J-30s from 2011, under a separate acquisition worth almost $400 million.

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