Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The C-17 Takes Off

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The C-17 Takes Off

Article excerpt

Last Friday was a great day for St. Louis. The area's largest employer, McDonnell Douglas Corp., won a huge new order for its latest Air Force cargo plane, the C-17. The aircraft, once mired in technical difficulties and huge cost-overruns, has now become a star and promises to assure McDonnell Douglas' future for years to come.

The Air Force has on order 40 C-17s and has now decided to purchase another 80 at a cost of roughly $200 million a plane, down from $450 million for the original test models, which didn't even work very well. But last summer the plane passed all its operations and reliability tests handsomely. It remained only for the Defense Acquisition Board to decide whether to rely on the C-17 as its principal military cargo carrier or to buy a mix of C-17s and Boeing 747s. The 747s can fly longer without refueling, but can't land on the small, unimproved air strips where military equipment often must be delivered in a hurry.

The board decided in favor of the C-17 because of its greater cargo capacity, though Boeing hasn't yet completely given up the fight. …

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