The Royal Air Force will receive its fifth Boeing C-17 strategic transport early next week, with “UK5” scheduled to arrive at the service’s Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire on 7 April.

Currently being equipped with its Northrop Grumman large aircraft infrared countermeasures equipment in San Antonio, Texas, aircraft ZZ175 made its first flight from Boeing’s Long Beach, California plant in late February (pictured below).

C-17 UK5 
© Crown Copyright

UK5 is the first C-17 to have been purchased outright by the UK Ministry of Defence, which will also this year pay for an initial four which entered service from mid-2001 under a lease deal with Boeing. A sixth example will be delivered in June under a 2007 order worth £130 million ($259 million), with the UK valuing its total C-17 project at around £2 billion.

With Boeing’s C-17 production line to shut down late next year unless a fresh commitment is secured from the US Air Force, the UK has also held recent discussions with the company on acquiring a further two aircraft for use by the RAF’s 99 Sqn.

The RAF is today celebrating its 90th anniversary. Read more from Flight about the milestone.

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