The UK Royal Air Force is buying an additional Boeing C-17 strategic airlifter, the company announced on 28 March, with the move to bring the service's total fleet to eight.

"This C-17 will be a welcome addition to the RAF fleet," says Robin Philip, the UK Ministry of Defence's head of commercial for air support.

Philip praised the US government and manufacturer Boeing for their work in securing the contract so quickly after the UK decided that it needed an additional aircraft. The requirement was announced by prime minister David Cameron in early February.

RAF C-17 Camp Bastion - Sgt Ross Tilly Crown Copyr 

© Sgt Ross Tilly/Crown Copyright

"We understand the need to move quickly to bring this contract to completion," says Liz Pace, Boeing's C-17 UK programme manager. "This additional order is a testament to our strong relationship with the UK."

The RAF's 99 Sqn flies the UK's current seven C-17s out of Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The aircraft are primarily used to support Operation Herrick - the UK's name for the conflict in Afghanistan.

Boeing has delivered a total of 241 C-17s around the world, with its primary customer the US Air Force operating 216 of the type.

An additional 25 C-17s have been delivered to US allies including Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the 12-member NATO Strategic Airlift Capability consortium.

Meanwhile, India has ordered 10 C-17s to be delivered between 2013 and 2014.

Source: Flight International