The United States Air Force (USAF) awarded Boeing a follow-up contract to ensure continued support to its C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fleet.

The contract, valued at $23.8 billion, will include potential options and incentives over the upcoming ten years until 2031, Boeing announced on September 29, 2021. The continued sustainment program is currently funded with a Phase I award of $3.5 billion through September 2024.

Under the Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) contract, Boeing will support the USAF C-17 global fleet of 275 aircraft by performing critical sustainment activities, including engineering, field support, and material management.

A PBL contract ensures that the customer receives an agreed-to level of system readiness rather than a traditional contract that provides specific spare parts and general support services.

“The C-17 continues to serve as the strategic airlift workhorse for the nation, as evidenced by its impressive performance in the recent airlift of more than 124,000 evacuees from Afghanistan in an around-the-clock operation,” said Brigadier General Darren Cole, Air Mobility Command (AMC) director of logistics, engineering, and force protection. “As the command responsible for operating the U.S. Air Force C-17 fleet, AMC looks forward to the continued partnership with our Boeing teammates as we work to keep the Globemaster fleet healthy for years to come.”

Boeing has supported the USAF C-17 Globemaster aircraft fleet under the PBL contract since 1988.

“We are bending the cost curve on platforms like the C-17 by leveraging the breadth and depth of Boeing's services capabilities and expertise worldwide, and by applying digital tools and analytics to drive predictability and performance into every C-17 mission,” said Dan Gillian, vice president & general manager of U.S. government services for Boeing global services.

“Working in partnership with our military customers, we are deriving data insight from these aircraft that is improving readiness and increasing fleet efficiency,” Gillian added.

Under the new agreement, Boeing intends to reduce sustainment and operating costs per flight-hour of the Globemaster aircraft, which generally tend to increase as the fleet ages.

The C-17 Globemaster aircraft is used as a strategic airlift workhorse by the USAF and global operators. The United States, Australia, Canada, India, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability all operate the C-17 Globemaster III.

The heavy transporter recently illustrated itself during the evacuation of Kabul, Afghanistan, by the United States and its allies. On August 15, 2021, as many as 823 people were flown out of Hamid Karzai International Airport by a single C-17 Globemaster III, a record for the aircraft.

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The USAF confirmed that a single Boeing C-17 transport aircraft evacuated over 800 people out of Kabul airport after the Taliban took control of the city.