FARNBOROUGH, England — Boeingâ€™s C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane is the workhorse of the U.S. Air Forceâ€™s airlift fleet, and according to the sales pitch, the only one of its kind: Both “strategic” and “tactical.”
A C-17 can take off from the United States, fly straight to its objective in Afghanistan, then land on a 3,000-foot “unimproved” runway, company officials say. That means, in many cases, it can take its cargo exactly where itâ€™s needed, rather than forcing units in the field to break down a load and ship part of it the proverbial “last mile” aboard a helicopter or a smaller airlifter such as a C-27J Spartan — but thatâ€™s another story for another time.
Meanwhile, here are two views of a C-17 cockpit captured Wednesday at the air show. In the second image, below, you can just make out some of what the pilots see through their headâ€™s-up displays — the same HUD, incidentally, that flies on the F/A-18 Hornet. Also in the second image: A guest appearance by the Air Forceâ€™s other, smaller cargo workhorse: Lockheed Martinâ€™s C-130 Hercules.