ST. LOUIS --- Boeing today started assembly on the first of eight C-17 Globemaster IIIs for Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. When delivered in January 2006, the aircraft will be the U.S. Air Force's 146th C-17, and its first C-17 to be based outside the Continental United States.
Along with Air Force, National Guard and civic leaders from the Rainbow State, including Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor, James R. "Duke" Aiona, Jr., Boeing celebrated the occasion in a colorful ceremony sprinkled with Hawaiian tradition.
"Today's ceremony marks the first historic step in the production of eight C-17s destined for Hawaii," said Brig. Gen. Peter "Skipper" Pawling, 154th Wing Commander. "We look forward to the day when all eight aircraft are at Hickam, and we have reached full operational capability supporting Air Mobility Command and U.S. Pacific Command requirements."
Assembly start symbolizes the first major integration point in the Long Beach factory of thousands of parts and pieces from the C-17's 800 suppliers and partners.
The new C-17s will be jointly operated by the Air Force's 15th Airlift Wing, and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing. It's a unique arrangement marking the first time C-17s will be delivered to an organization outside Air Mobility Command. Hawaii’s C-17s will be under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Air Forces, headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base.
Col. Ray Torres, Wing commander of the 15th Airlift Wing, praised the working together relationship between Boeing and its new customers at Hickam AFB.
"I believe this partnership with the professionals at Boeing, and our partners at Hickam Air Force Base, the 154 th Wing Air National Guardsmen and the 735th Air Mobility Squadron, is a template for conducting strategic mobility and organizing our Air Force in the future," said Col. Torres. "We will leverage the strengths of the Air National Guard, Air Mobility Command and Pacific Air Forces to conduct the strategic mobility mission around the world."
Hickam's first C-17 will roll out of the Boeing Long Beach factory in late 2005 and be delivered in January 2006. The seven C-17s that follow will arrive in Honolulu approximately every three to four weeks – until the squadron is complete.
Used for both military and humanitarian missions, the C-17 is the world's only tactical airlift aircraft with strategic capabilities. Boeing is under contract to design, build, deliver and support 180 C-17s for the U.S. Air Force, which currently operates 131 C-17s. The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force has a fleet of four C-17s.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.5 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.
Boeing Begins Assembly on First USAF C-17 Based Outside Continental U.S.