|Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):|
IIRC, the first 5 C-17s were originally leased, by the RAF. But before the 5th airplane was delivered, the UK decided to convert the lease program to buying all of the airplanes. So, it has been done before for the C-17
The first 4 RAF C-17s were leased...The 5th, 6th and 7th jets were bought out right. The lease of the first 4 jets (USAF
serials 00-0201-0204) ZZ171 through ZZ174 was set to expire in mid 2008. The RAF announced the purchase of the first four aircraft and purchased their 5th C-17 outright in late 2006 and was delivered in early 2008 (ZZ175, USAF
serial 06-0205). As they picked up ZZ175, they bought ZZ176. The USAF
gave them a production slot, so they got the jet in June of 08 (Assigned USAF
serial 08-0206). In December 09, the RAF purchased their seventh jet, ZZ177 (USAF
serial 09-0207) which was delivered to them in January 2011. ZZ177 wears the 10th anniversary tail art on its tail since the RAF has had their C-17 fleet running since May 2001.
Yes, the India order is supposed to keep the line open through 2014. There is still an option for them to aquire another 6 jets as well. The RAF has buzz about getting a 8th C-17 and the RAAF
announced its intent on getting a 6th C-17 as well. The UAE still has two jets to be delivered. A couple other countries expressed interest, but nobody else has made anything of it. There is still buzz about the USAF
trying to store the tooling as well; but thats still up in the air as well.
I think they should keep the line warm; a large chunk of the USAF
fleet have around 15K hours on the airframes already. I'm a C-5 guy myself, but with the retirement of 32 jets, the USAF
should consider either storing the tooling, or getting a few more C-17s before nailing the coffin shut. Boeing has proposed different versions of the C-17, but nothing has been worth the cost.