By Gavin Davids
Aircraft to be used primarily for humanitarian and strategic operations.
Boeing and the UAE Air Force and Air Defence announced on Wednesday that they had signed a contract that will deliver six Boeing C17 Globemaster III advanced airlifters to the UAE by 2012.
In 2009, the UAE announced that it would be modernising its airlift capabilities with the C17. It is the second Middle East Country to order the aircraft after Qatar.
Faris Mohammed al Mazrouei, major general staff pilot, said: “The C17 will give the UAE the ability to perform a variety of humanitarian and strategic lift operations around the world in support of both national and international missions.”
He added: “These missions require us to be ready for any contingency at any time and any place, and the C17 meets all our requirements.”
Under the agreement, the UAE will take delivery of four C17s in 2011 and two in 2012. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Boeing will provide the UAE Air Force with support for the C17s through the Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, an agreement under which Boeing is responsible for all C17 sustainment activities, including material management and depot maintenance support.
Speaking about the suitability of the aircraft for the UAE, Tommy Dunehew, vice president, business development, Boeing Global Mobility Systems, said: “In addition to being able to land and take off on short, unimproved highways, it (the C17) has the highest mission capability rate of any airlifter.”
With a full payload of 170,000 pound, the C17s are capable of carrying large combat equipment and troops as well as humanitarian aid across international distances to small airfields anywhere in the world.
Fully loaded, the planes can fly 2,400 nautical miles and land within 3,000 feet.
The C17s being bought by the UAE are part of a $1.8 billion deal financed by Waha Capital, which will also see three Airbus A330/220s being bought in for the cost of $1.2 billion.
The deal is part of a wider financing programme, worth a total of $3 billion, by the UAE to upgrade the Armed Forces. The programme is expected to be finalised during 2010.