The US Air Force's C-17 Globemaster III transport fleet will number 180 if the US Department of Defense accepts a Boeing offer to supply a further60 aircraft.

The unsolicited offer on 30 March results from a year-long Boeing study of cost-cutting measures aimed at generating further C-17 sales to the USAF. The deal would probably include the additional 14 C-17s the USAF this year agreed to purchase for special operations. Plans call for one of these aircraft to be acquired in 2003, five in 2004 and eight in 2005.

The manufacturer is under contract to supply 120 aircraft, including 80 covered by a multi-year procurement agreement spanning seven years that was signed with the Pentagon in 1996.

The unit fly-away cost of theC-17 is $198 million in 1999 dollars. The cost for the 60 additional transports would fall to $149 million due to increased productivity, increased automation and improved supplier performance.

Source: Flight International