Boeing delivered the fourth C-17 transport for the Qatari Emiri Air Force during a ceremony at the company’s production facility in Long Beach, Calif., announced the company. The handover took place on Dec. 10, completing the Middle East nation’s order for two additional C-17s on top of the two that it received in 2009. Qatar took possession of its third airlifter earlier this year. “The C-17’s reliability, along with its unique strategic and tactical capabilities, has expanded our reach and ability to support missions worldwide on a moment’s notice,” said Brig. Gen. Ahmed al Maliki, head of Qatar’s airlift committee, in Boeing’s release. He added, “Doubling our fleet strengthens our ability to support humanitarian, disaster-relief and peacekeeping missions.” Qatar’s C-17s have supported NATO operations in Libya, and delivered relief for drought victims in Kenya. With this delivery, Boeing has now supplied 249 C-17s worldwide, including 218 to the US Air Force.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.