Sunday, February 04, 2007
The Sunday "toy"
The Canadian government has announced that it is to buy four C-17 military transports from the Boeing Co. This follows the interim notice given to the company in July and the rejection in August of a plea by Airbus for its A-400M to be considered.
Rather predictably, Airbus Military senior vice-president Richard Thompson is a seriously unhappy bunny. He had dismissed the C-17 and the C-130J – which the Canadian are also to buy - as obsolete "Cold War" designs, while pitching Airbus Military's A-400M as a "21st Century aircraft" with better versatility, performance, crew protection and aircraft survivability.
Despite that, the Canadians were distinctly unimpressed and – rightly as it turned out – cast doubts on the ability of Airbus to deliver by 2010, when the aircraft are needed. But, to ensure the decision went the right way, the military also made some adjustments. Originally specifying a requirement for a lift of 19.5 metric tons, planners increased this to 39 metric tons.
By some strange coincidence, the maximum payload of the A-400M is 37 metric tons.
In recognition of this heroic decision, we have made the C-17 our Sunday "toy". The photograph shows a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, taken as preparations are made to offload wounded personnel from Balad Air Base, Iraq, at "an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia". This is an official USAF photo taken on 17 January 2007. The photo credit goes to Staff Sgt Edward D. Holzapfel.
As before, click on the photo to enlarge.