May 2006 
Volume 05, Issue 1 
Cover Story

Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership keeps C-17s flying

While the design, quality and reliability built into the C-17 helped the airlifter reach its millionth flight hour so quickly, Boeing's efforts in the field sustaining the U.S. Air Force fleet also were critical to the C-17's success.

Through the Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership (GSP) program, Boeing supports the C-17 fleet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Out in the field, we have Boeing people who have direct contact with the customer and the C-17 every day. This millionth flight hour is a testament to them and everyone who is involved with sustaining this aircraft," said Gus Urzua, vice president of Air Force Integrated Logistics and C-17 GSP program manager. "At many of the locations our Boeing team works in the same building as the maintenance squadrons. Our people are an integral part of the daily operations of air bases around the world."

One of those bases is Ramstein Air Base in Germany, departure point for the million-hour mission. Often that base sees 30 or more C-17 arrivals and departures a day. Any C-17 that flies in Europe or the Middle East is directly supported by Boeing teammates in Germany.

Ramstein field service engineers Fred Bahmani and Tim Miller—along with Dave Grzesiak at nearby Spandalem Air Force Base in Germany, which handles the overflow from Ramstein—provide services ranging from engineering and technical support to informal training to maintainers. Their work has taken them to Iraq, Afghanistan, Spain and Italy, bringing the expertise of Boeing into the field to directly support the fleet.

"No two days are the same, with solving a wide variety of technical problems and working a large variety of aircraft issues," Miller said. "We get to see the results of Boeing and the Air Force working together to make the C-17 the best airlift platform in the world."

Boeing provides more than spares and repairs on the C-17 through the GSP program. Around the globe, Boeing employees oversee the supply chain and provide technical and engineering support in the field to Air Force maintainers. Boeing teammates work to keep C-17s available for warfighters and humanitarian relief missions.

"We're integrated with the customer to provide the best support solutions possible. We anticipate what is critical for them and provide a solution, even sometimes before they need it," said Bill Hammond, director of support-systems integration on the GSP program.

Like Bahmani, Miller and Grzesiak, Boeing field representatives located at all of the C-17 operating locations are on call 24 hours a day and will deploy with Air Force crews in the field if a C-17 needs on-site repairs.

In fiscal year 2005, the C-17 saw a sustained mission capability rate that exceeded 80 percent. The worldwide launch departure reliability for 2005 was an outstanding 95 percent. Over the last five years, C-17 aircraft availability was 8 to 10 percentage points above the airlift fleet average.

With U.S. military forces fighting the global war on terror for more than three years, the GSP program's global support network has ensured the airlifter is ready and available to do its job.

"We are proud to say we help keep the best airlifter in the world flying and fulfilling its mission around the world," Urzua said. "We plan to continue working alongside the customer as long as C-17s are flying."

—Brad Mudd



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