C-17 Globemaster taking off

C-17 Globemaster III

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is designed to fulfill military and humanitarian airlift needs well into the 21st century. A high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed aircraft with a rear-loading ramp, the C-17 can carry large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid across international distances directly to small austere airfields anywhere in the world.

With a payload of 164,900 pounds, the C-17 can take off from a 7,000-foot airfield, fly 2,400 nautical miles, and land on a small, austere airfield of 3,000 feet or less. The C-17 is equipped with an externally blown flap system that allows a steep, low-speed final approach and low-landing speeds for routine short-field landings.

A cockpit crew of two and one loadmaster operate the C-17, which can be refueled in flight. This cost-effective flight crew complement is made possible through the use of an advanced digital avionics system and advanced cargo systems. In the cargo compartment, the C-17 can carry Army wheeled vehicles in two side-by-side rows. Three combat-ready Stryker infantry-fighting vehicles comprise one deployment load. Similarly, the Army's newest main battle tank, the M-1, can be carried.

The four engines are Pratt & Whitney PW2040 series turbofans, designated as F117-PW-100 by the Air Force, each producing 40,440 pounds of thrust. The engines are equipped with directed-flow thrust reversers capable of deployment in flight. On the ground, a fully loaded aircraft using thrust reversers can back up a 2 percent slope.

Length: 174 feet (53.04 m)
Height at Tail:
55.1 feet (16.79 m)
Wing Span to Wingtips: 169.8 feet (51.74 m)
Maximum Payload: 164,900 lbs. (74,797 kg)
At 4,000 nautical miles: 100,300 lbs. (45,495 kg)
Range with Payload  
160,000 pounds: 2,420 nautical miles
40,000 pounds: 5,610 nautical miles
Cruise Speed: 0.74 – 0.77 Mach
Takeoff Field Length (Max Gross Weight): 7,740 ft. (2,359.15 m)
Landing Field Length  
160,000 lbs of Cargo: 3,000 ft. (914.40 m)


In 2010, The global C-17 fleet surpassed the 2 million flight-hours milestone.

C-17s have were instrumental during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During flight-testing testing, C-17s set 33 world records – more than any other airlifter in history.


U.S. Air Force


United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence

United Kingdom Royal Air Force

Royal Australian Air Force

Royal Canadian Air Force


Defense, Space & Security