The U.S. State Department has made approved the sale of follow-on C-17 aircraft Contractor Logistics Support and related equipment to the UK for an estimated cost of $401.3 million.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale, this is displayed below.

“The Government of the United Kingdom has requested to buy follow-on C-17 aircraft Contractor Logistical Support (CLS) to include aircraft component spare and repair parts; accessories; publications and technical documentation; software and software support; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.  The total estimated program cost is $401.3 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a key NATO Ally, which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.

This proposed sale will improve the United Kingdom’s capability to meet current and future threats by ensuring the operational readiness of the Royal Air Force.  Its C-17 aircraft fleet provides strategic airlift capabilities that directly support U.S. and coalition operations around the world.  The United Kingdom will have no difficulty absorbing these services into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be The Boeing Company of Chicago, IL.  There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of the proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the United Kingdom.”

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

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maurice10
maurice10
3 days ago

I wonder what is the projected life of these aircraft? At some stage, a new specification will be required in order to begin D&D on a replacement. I’m intrigued if it may be bigger to span both C17 and Galaxy, the latter still being a useful aircraft?

One additional thought, with so many A380’s and 747’s becoming surplus due to falling demand, could there be a military use for these going forward?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

I had heard that reliability on these was beginning to suffer because of the intensity of usage. One of the issues with the way costs are counted these days as they are total through life costs. So the lower cost of acquisition is ignored. I am not aware of any recent militarisation of 747’s or any at all of 380’s (I may well be just not aware of them). The A380 was designed specifically without an opening tail. The design option was canned early in development to save weight. Currently this is an issue: what do you do with a… Read more »

RoboJ1M
RoboJ1M
2 days ago

I think they should stick with the A400M and C17
Perhaps something from the A380 design project could be reused?
So, all new hyper-weight STOL strategic lift.
Can use semi-rough airfields
Needs to be able to carry an MBT.
And maybe it’s support staff, tools and gear?
Call it the Airbus A600M
Then, a real big boy, 4 Trent1000s and can carry 2 tanks + stuff and crew.
The A800M
Buy this rapid digital prototype and automated factory tech off of BAE and Lockheed.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  RoboJ1M

There have also been studies of Lighter than Air types, modern day airships.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
3 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Why the rush to replace?
Surely with regular maintenance and maybe an engine upgrade in 10 or 20 years the aircraft should still be fine.
With so many in service, we should have an excellent idea about how to combat fatigue and help prolong the life of this great system.

Andy
Andy
3 days ago

This is such a huge amount, considering our budget. Equivalent to an extra Type 31 and another OPV. How many of these will we do over the lifetime?

Is Boeing and Lockheed now making more on “services” than hardwire? Sure an F35 is only $80m but then they say the “manual” costs another $5m etc.

We need to watch out for this in our negotiations.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
3 days ago
Reply to  Andy

How is a manual $5m?

Is it printed on unobtainium or something?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 days ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

The manual cost $1 and the special USB Block 4 memory stick cost $4,999,999 obviously.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 days ago
Reply to  Andy

A 10mm Hexiform Rotational Compression unit on Phalanx was nearly 400 dollars when the first mounts where purchased in the early 1980s
As you can guess and since then a 10mm nut is a lot cheaper and now available locally and not from only the USA.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Andy

Support costs are expensive. Hundreds of millions to integrate weapons, several hundreds of millions to redevelop parts of Marham, like a handful of new buildings, runways and hardstanding.

Much of the well publicised £170 billion UK Defence budget on kit over ten years is spent on support and maintenance of such kit, not on actual new shiny stuff.

But yes, it’s a lot. $50 million per aircraft?

RoboJ1M
RoboJ1M
2 days ago

I wonder if the cost of the crew is still more than three aircraft and it’s support?
You know, like in the navy, where the cost of the crew poverty their lifetime dwarfs the cost of the ship they’re on.

Herodotus
3 days ago

How gracious of the US State department in approving the taking of money off the UK by US defence firms. The UK should be eternally grateful for sitting like a little dog at the masters table! I there is a second coming of Christ, will he need State Department approval!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Doesn’t any kit brought from the UK by another need a similar governmental process?

Maybe your another Belfast man! In fact I bet you are!

farouk
farouk
3 days ago

H reminds of a so called Scottish bloke living in Russia who frequents the Conservative women blog. For some strange reason he replied to a post of mine about defence spending with a statement of
“Does NATO have any jets that can do this”
and linked in a picture of a SU30 going vertical after takeoff. when I posted links of the F22,F15,F16,F18,Typhoon and the Rafale doing just that. he decided to run silent run deep. Lucky for him I never bothered to mention the Kursk

Herodotus
3 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Thanks Farouk….some of your comments remind me of someone too.

andy
andy
3 days ago

we should have our own equipment made and built over here,the costs of this are just way stupid,especially with that money going to the US,they maybe an allie but surely a british company getting a similar amount could keep people here employed and helping the local and national economy as tax money is pumped back,we really need to start producing again and stop firms being bought out or merged to form super companies who just take over everything with no alternative.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  andy

Do you think the UK could now develop a C17 version from scratch? There would be even less money than before I’d imagine given the well known costs of home grown kit. Once we destroyed our varied aircraft industries we eitger buy American or a joint European type. I loved the look of the Belfast myself, why did the RAF get rid of it? The C17 itself is a strategic asset, another of those enablers few posses. I was absolutely cock a hoop when the UK leased the 1st 4, having seen them at mildenhall during the Air Fetes in… Read more »

farouk
farouk
3 days ago

Agree with you 120% Danielle. and the C17 is a lot better than the homegrown Blackburn Beverley (which I actually got to have a look around at an airshow at RAF Finningley )

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Just looked it up. I recognised the plane but did not know its name.

Simon m
Simon m
2 days ago

Both the Blackburn Beverley & Short Belfast look half decent to me! the later looking like the a400m of its day! There was also the AW660.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 days ago

For the cost of the lease we could have bought the things outright from the start.

RoboJ1M
RoboJ1M
2 days ago

Financially, no, the UK couldn’t.
However, with BAE and Airbus we are the best suited to design and build a C17 competitor.
4 Trent 900s or 1000s
STOL with some sort of take off assistance (JATO, reheat)
Or maybe a set of SABRE air breathing rocket motors
Basically start from scratch but reuse as much as you can from the A380 and A400M projects
And all of the European NATO countries put something in the pot.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  andy

As for your comments on firms being bought out, I agree!

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 days ago

CLS is a license to print money for the contractor doing it. BAe had a CLS contract in place for T45 . It was gotten rid of for a number of reasons such as it was not value for money and the maintainers onboard where limited on what they could do to fix equipment. SCOT Satcom fits had/have the same issues. Only the Contractor can supply the spares and fix it if its broken. He has to fly out Business class to what ever your next port of call was , stay in a lovely 4/5 * hotel, fix the… Read more »

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
2 days ago

The Americans are talking about keeping their C-17 flying for many decades to come. I wonder if they will re-engine with a newer, more fuel efficient engine eventually?

Simon m
Simon m
2 days ago

Its a pity we couldn’t get more C17s whilst the production was still going on. I really think we need to buy some A400m to boost airlift.

For the future could the UK look to partner with Brazil or Japan? Embraer & Kawasaki have experience in medium lift aircraft perhaps with Rolls-Royce engines & support plus a UK consortia, it could be possible to construct a successor?

Paul T
Paul T
2 days ago
Reply to  Simon m

Id imagine the RAF are over the Moon ( not literally ) to have 8 C17’s,they may have thought 4 were all they were going to get.But the Fleet has been worked very hard – a Ninth and a Tenth would have been the Icing on the Cake,without the A400 coming into service they probably would have got them.The Transport Fleet is pretty well catered for at the moment,if there is a need for more capacity it would make sense to Buy a few more A400’s.

r cummings
r cummings
1 day ago
Reply to  Paul T

The C-17 is a brilliant asset, giving us the capability to shift heavy armour and any of our armoured fighting vehicles by air. It is a pity we only have 4 in the front line. The A400 is fine for cargo, protected patrol vehicles and the like but is not in the big boys class of the C-17. Now that the C-17 production line is closed, I would like to see the UK acquire a licence to produce and maintain C-17s outwith the USA. The RAF could do with another 4, which would enable us to lift a Challenger squadron… Read more »

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
1 day ago
Reply to  r cummings

Last I heard the USAF had 10 early C-17 in storage. USAF has thought about re activating a few. Could be a source if the RAF needed an extra 1 or 2. Also, do UAE & Qatar really need 8x C-17 each? Perhaps they might part with one each?

farouk
farouk
1 day ago
Reply to  r cummings

RC wrote:
“” I would like to see the UK acquire a licence to produce and maintain C-17s outwith the USA.”

There’s definitely a market for Transport aircraft since the C17 line was ended.
The Brazilians (Embraer C-390 Millennium)
The Turks/Ukrainians (Antonov An-188 )
Saudis/Ukrainians (Antonov An-178)
Russians (Ilyushin Il-276)

Are all knocking out Cargo aircraft albeit smaller The Chiense have knocked out what appears to be a C17 clone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4PNoFNpwv4

The A400 came about due to a lack of progress from the yanks regards the replacement of the C130,

farouk
farouk
1 day ago
Reply to  farouk

Sorry for the full on bold, appears I didn’t check my HTML closing statement