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Boeing C-17 poised to survive political turbulence

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posted on May, 17 2009 @ 04:44 AM
Is Gates the next Macnamara? THe C-17 is needed and airlift is always going to be an issue. Also keeping the line open means that the possibility of more foreign purchases due to the A400 ongoing production problems and the political battle over funding it.

Boeing Co.'s C-17 cargo plane, assembled in Long Beach and in a fight for survival in the nation's Capitol, gained the support of the House on Thursday but faces political head winds in the Senate. It is one of the first budget showdowns between President Obama and Congress.

In a victory for the aerospace giant, the House included $2.2 billion for eight more C-17s in a war-spending bill.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has called for ending production once the last plane on order rolls off the Long Beach assembly line in 2011 as part of a sweeping Pentagon spending reform push.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, in a separate action, provided no money for additional C-17s. But the plane's supporters had cause to hope after the committee chairman's response to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who pleaded for

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 09:02 PM
I figure all he is saying is that in the current financial situation the US government is not prepared to purchase more C-17s than it needs just to keep the line open for it's allies to buy them.

Kinda doesn't make financial sense to buy 50 more aircraft than you need, so that your allies can buy 25.

In reality it is a warning to US allies that if you want the bird, buy it now, because it won't be there later.

As regards US domestic policy, the message is consistent with other industries - the government will not purchase stuff it doesn't need just to keep the company afloat - if you want a bailout, you have to do something yourself.

The Winged Wombat

posted on May, 19 2009 @ 09:27 PM
Having the pleasure of being a C-17 crew chief, I may be biased, but I happen to think it's a good investment. Currently the C-17 is the best all around airlifter in the United States arsenal, and it's the most cost effective.

The C-130's and C-5's while very good airframes for what they do just don't have the same reliability. The average C-17 is good to fly over 80% of the time, even higher here at Travis AFB. The C-5 on the other hand is hanging around 50% ready to fly. While nothing can match the C-5 in total capacity with the exception of a handful of Antonovs, it just isn't practical for a mission the C-17 can do when it can only fly half the time. While I don't know enough about the C-130 to say how reliable it is, they are getting on in years.

Given the fact that the need for airlift is not going to go down anytime soon I think it's extremely important that the Air Force be provided with enough birds to do our job. And it just so happens that the C-17 is the absolute best way to do this, especially with the need to cut cost.

In addition quite a few allies are considering purchasing the jet, and I believe that the foreign market sales would be for the economy. We get more jets we need, our allies get the jets they need so they don't have to rely on us and rented Antonovs, and we'd get a good boost for the economy.

posted on May, 19 2009 @ 10:46 PM
I don't think there is any argument about the fact that the C-17 is the best bird around for the airlift job.

The point is that once the USAF / US Government 'powers that be' decide that the USAF has 'enough' C-17s, that they are not going to buy more just so the line stays open.

That can variously be interpreted as....

They aren't going to keep the line open just to provide revenue for the company (that is, buy airframes that they don't believe they need),


Foreign buyers are going to have to place orders right now, otherwise it won't be available in 12-18 months time.

The Winged Wombat

posted on May, 19 2009 @ 10:51 PM
reply to post by The Winged Wombat


Its going to come down to as always politics. MD and Boeing were smart in one aspect: production of the C-17 is spread out through almost 40 states so the congress which has for the past few years included C-17's in the budget may overide the Pentagon and Gates.

But as you said some of it may be just a show to put pressure on the UK, NATO, and even France to belly up for a buy.

posted on May, 20 2009 @ 01:19 AM
And thats the issue as well fred , depending on US equipement to the point that if/when they say `NO` to a new buy , your own countries airforce then says ` what else do we buy` , which is one reason the A400M WILL be bought, as a western alternative to the C-17.

posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:41 AM

Originally posted by Harlequin
And thats the issue as well fred , depending on US equipement to the point that if/when they say `NO` to a new buy , your own countries airforce then says ` what else do we buy` , which is one reason the A400M WILL be bought, as a western alternative to the C-17.

But its NOT an alternative to the C-17. Its in that nebulos arena between a Strategic and tactical airlifter. Esp when you factor in what its really going to cost plus weight issues and range issues that have cropped up.

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