The RAF's C-17s play a vital role in supporting UK operations in Afghanistan – photo UK MoD
Feb 08, 2012 by Craig Hoyle- Flight Global
London - The UK is to order another Boeing C-17 strategic transport, with the acquisition to boost the Royal Air Force's fleet of the type to eight aircraft.
Announced by prime minister David Cameron on 8 February, the purchase represents the potentially final addition to the UK's C-17 fleet, which plays a vital role in sustaining its "airbridge" with Afghanistan. Seven are flown by the service's 99 Sqn from its air transport super base at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
Writing on his Twitter account, minister for defence equipment, support and technology Peter Luff described the decision as "really good news for Defence and for [the] RAF".
Further details about the acquisition will be announced by the UK Ministry of Defence later today, with Boeing declining to comment in advance of its customer's statement.
In May 2011, the RAF marked the completion of its first decade of operations with the C-17, an initial four of which were flown under a lease agreement with the USA. These were subsequently purchased outright, with orders later placed for two and one aircraft respectively.
The UK operates the second-largest fleet of C-17s, behind the US Air Force, although India recently completed the process of ordering a fleet of 10 to enter use from later this decade.