Boeing Defense, Space, & Security staged a takeoff event for the final C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter to be assembled at its Long Beach, Calif., plant, on Sunday, Nov. 29, marking the official end of aircraft production there.
“This is truly the end of an era,” stated Nan Bouchard, Boeing Defense vice president and C-17 program manager. “It’s a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of.”
Boeing announced plans in 2013 to cease C-17 production and to end operations in Long Beach. It will continue providing technical support, maintenance, and upgrades to the C-17 fleet still in operation under the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics agreement.
The C-17 Globemaster III is a military transport aircraft, developed for the U.S. Air Force by McDonnell Douglas in the 1980s and in production since 1991. Records indicated 279 C-17s were built, for the USAF, the U.K.’s Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Indian Air Force. Boeing continued to produce the aircraft after its takeover of McDonnell Douglas in 1997.
C-17s perform strategic airlift missions (troop and cargo transport), as well as tactical missions, evacuation, and airdrop.
The last aircraft is destined for the Qatar Emiri Air Force. Hundreds of Boeing employees and former employees assembled to watch a fly-over at the Long Beach plant, as the jet took off for Boeing’s San Antonio location where it will remain until the delivery early next year.
The airlifter flew over a crowd and the facility before heading to the company’s San Antonio location, where it will remain until delivery to the Qatar Emiri Air Force early in 2016.
“Our team’s work and dedication and professionalism created one of the world’s leading airlifters, a plane that is at the forefront for providing humanitarian aid and has changed the way the U.S. Air Force and our international partners mobilize for operations and aeromedical support,” Bouchard said.