Production of the C-17 Globemaster III, a large transport plane flown by the U.S. Air Force and allied militaries, has come to an end.
The final C-17 left Boeing’s assembly plant in Long Beach, Calif., on Nov. 29 and headed to the company’s San Antonio site, where it will remain until it is delivered to the Qatar Emiri Air Force in early 2016, Boeing announced. “This is truly the end of an era,” said Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager. A video of the last jet being built can be viewed here.
Boeing has delivered 223 C-17s to the U.S. Air Force and dozens more to Australia, Canada, India, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the Strategic Airlift Capability, a 12-nation consortium of mostly NATO members. The four-engine C-17, which is used to transport people and cargo, has become a workhorse for both military and humanitarian aid operations and has flown more than 3 million hours since it first took to the skies in 1991.
The end of production was not a surprise. Boeing announced in 2013 that it would close the assembly line this year, saying it did not have enough buyers to sustain production. The company said its work with the jet is not over, as it will continue to maintain and upgrade C-17s worldwide.