From Long Beach to Charleston

September 18, 2013 in Defense

After more than two decades, Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster III will complete production in 2015, closing the C-17 final assembly facility in Long Beach, Calif.

“Ending C-17 production was a very difficult decision,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “While the desire for the C-17’s capabilities is high, budgets cannot support additional purchases in the timing required to keep the production line open.”

The production schedule until 2015 includes C-17s for partner nations, but for Boeing’s biggest customer, the U.S. Air Force, the C-17 line came to an end Sept. 12 as Boeing delivered the 223rd C-17 for the U.S. Air Force, 20 years after the first delivery.

“This is not the close of a chapter, it’s the close of paragraph,” said Gen. Paul Selva, Commander U.S. Air Mobility Command. “There’s a lot more history to be written with this airplane. We’re going to fly it for decades to come.”

Flying more than 2.6 million miles worldwide, the C-17 Globemaster III has been at the helm of combat and humanitarian air mobility support. Its combined strategic and tactical capabilities allow it to fly between continents, land on short runways, and carry thousands of pounds of cargo.

“The dependability and the reliability of the C-17 allow us to deliver war fighters where they’re needed, cargo where it’s needed, and it’s precise and reliable,” said Col. Dennis Dabney, 437th Maintenance Group Commander.

Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager, says even though this is the last C-17 for the U.S. Air Force, the C-17 heritage will continue. “Every employee here is proud to build this amazing aircraft. We are continuing the legacy by building C-17s for our partner nations, and we will continue to work with the U.S. Air Force to ensure their aircraft deliver top performance into the future.”

The Air Force’s final C-17 will be stationed at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., where the first operational C-17 delivered in 1993 is also stationed. Boeing supports the worldwide fleet of C-17s through the C-17 Globemaster Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP), with employees located at Joint Base Charleston and at operating bases around the globe and will continue to provide innovative support services for years to come.

Watch the video above to see the final C-17 arrive in Charleston.