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.