The ample airlifter has supported missions both martial and humanitarian. Now Boeing has delivered its last one to the Air Force as it gets ready to power down its C-17 assembly lines.
The C-17 likely has many years of service ahead of it, but the US Air Force won't be getting any new ones any more. Manufacturer Boeing earlier this month delivered its final C-17 to the Air Force, bring the total over the last 20 years to 223. It has also delivered 34 additional Globemasters to other customers in the UK, India, and elsewhere.
The big cargo carrier has seen duty both in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and in humanitarian efforts including Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005 and post-Fukushima cleanup in 2011.
"C-17s are the workhorse for the U.S. Air Force in wartime and in peace," said Chris Chadwick, Boeing Military Aircraft president, in a statement marking the final delivery.
The maiden flight of the C-17 was September 15, 1991, almost exactly 22 years to the day ahead of the first flight of the 223rd C-17 on September 12 of this year. The Air Force first took delivery of a production model in June 1993.
While Boeing has completed its contractual obligations to the Air Force, it still has a smattering of C-17 aircraft to build, an additional 22 for other customers around the world. But then that's it -- save, of course, for years of support and modernization yet to come. Boeing said this week that it will finally cease C-17 production in 2015.
(Credit: Photo by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez)