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See Inside the $340 Million Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Military Jet

Since its first delivery to the US Air Force at Joint Base Charleston in 1993, Boeing’s flagship military aircraft has served the US military through two wars and aided countless conflicts and missions.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

Air Mobility Command primarily operates the US military’s fleet of more than 200 C-17 aircraft that have been delivered over the past three decades. A veritable jack of all trades, they act as cargo planes, troop transports, and even flying hospitals.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Most recently, though, the US military relied upon the C-17 to safely evacuate military personnel, government contractors, and refugees from Afghanistan at the end of the war in Afghanistan.

In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load people being evacuated from Afghanistan onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.

In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load people being evacuated from Afghanistan onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.

Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Force via AP


The UAE Air Force showed off one of its Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs at the Dubai Airshow in November that’s comparable to what the US Air Force flies. Here’s what it’s like inside.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Commercial aviation has the Boeing 747 and military aviation has the C-17 when it comes to four-engine workhorse aircraft. Nations around the world including the UK, Qatar, UAE, Canada, India, Australia, and Kuwait have all chosen the C-17 to help power their militaries.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The C-17 stands at 174 feet long and 55 feet and one inch tall, with an unmistakable look that sets it apart from other aircraft.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 engines power the aircraft and offer 40,440 pounds of thrust.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

The engines are so powerful that they are used to slow the plane during steep tactical descents, something which a commercial airliner would never dream of doing.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

All cargo is loaded through the C-17’s rear cargo door that comes equipped with a ramp for easy loading and offloading.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Helicopters, vehicles, and even a 69-ton M1 Abrams tank can be transported in the back of a C-17, thanks to a maximum payload capacity of 170,900 pounds.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

The cargo compartment spans 88 feet with a width of 18 feet and a height of 12 feet and 4 inches, enough space for 102 troops, 36 medical litters, and 54 ambulatory patients.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

Unlike a passenger airliner or even a traditional cargo freighter, however, there’s very little that’s aesthetically pleasing about the cargo hold of a C-17.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Wiring and cabling run along the cabin walls and almost give the appearance that the aircraft is unfinished.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


As with any military aircraft, there are very few luxuries and interior cabin fittings take a back seat to utility and performance.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Passenger seats can be found along the side walls of the aircraft and are about as basic as they can get.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


When flying important passengers including dignitaries, plush leather recliner seats can be installed in the cabin. They’re similar to what is found in the premium economy class cabin of an international airline.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Slightly more basic airline-style seats can also be installed in rows of five across.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


They are undoubtedly an improvement from the barebones seats found along the cabin wall.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


But these seats are a far cry from those found on any modern airline.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Passengers may board through either the cargo door or the forward door that comes with a built-in set of stairs.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


But not all passengers enter and exit through the same door. Paratroopers will often jump from the plane using one of two side doors, just as the US military has been doing since the days of Douglas C-47 Dakota.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Paratroopers will line up in a single file and jump out of the plane one by one as their parachute chords are automatically pulled by a static line inside the aircraft.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The C-17 is also capable of medical evacuations in which litters can be placed in the cargo compartment.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The US Air Force staffs a medical evacuation flight with two flight nurses and three medical technicians.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

Litters can be stacked on top of each other as many as three high.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The US military also proved in August that the C-17 is more than capable of flying more than 102 passengers. At the end of the war in Afghanistan, one C-17 transported 823 refugees alone out of Kabul, Afghanistan to safety.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Afghanistan evacuation

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III evacuating refugees from Afghanistan.

US Air Mobility Command/DVIDS


On August 31, the last US military aircraft including C-17s flew from Kabul to Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar, marking the end of the 20-year war.

Afghanistan evacuation C-17

Evacuees wait to board a C-17 at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 23, 2021.

US Marine Corps/Sgt. Isaiah Campbell


The C-17’s cockpit is located on the upper level of the aircraft, above the cargo compartment.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The US Air Force prides itself on using commercially available “off the shelf” equipment on the C-17. And the cockpit is as similarly unaesthetic as the cargo compartment.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

Pilots use a control stick grip that’s situated between their legs and similar to those found in helicopters and fighter jets, to fly the airplane rather than a traditional yoke.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


A heads-up display, also similar to those found in fighter jets, allows pilots to keep their eyes forward which comes in handy during tactical approaches and other intense maneuvers.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The C-17 can fly as high as 45,000 feet and doesn’t need to land for fuel thanks to its aerial refueling capability.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

Only two pilots are required in the cockpit to fly the Globemaster while a loadmaster is focused on any cargo or passengers in the back of the plane.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Air Force

The loadmaster’s office is on the lower floor of the C-17 directly below the cockpit.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Just like on any cargo plane, the loadmaster is responsible for ensuring that aircraft are properly loaded and that the weight and balance of the aircraft on a given mission is within the aircraft’s capabilities.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


And while there may not be many luxuries on the aircraft, there’s is an airline-style galley complete with a coffeemaker.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


US Air Force C-17s traverse the globe on a daily basis as the US maintains its global military presence.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — Dubai Airshow 2021

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Thomas Pallini/Insider




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