21 january 2011 LONDON --- Boeing and its Boeing Defence UK subsidiary today announced the arrival of the Royal Air Force's seventh C-17 Globemaster III airlifter at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England. The aircraft was officially delivered on Nov. 16 from Boeing's facility in Long Beach, Calif., and underwent modifications at the company's San Antonio facility before flying to the United Kingdom. "The RAF C-17 fleet, along with the rest of the Airbridge, delivers an incredible capability to our deployed forces on the front line," said Air Officer Commanding 2 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Philip Osborn, Royal Air Force. "I am also extremely proud of the outstanding contribution that all our aircraft and personnel are making toward continued progress in Afghanistan." Assigned to 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton, the UK fleet of C-17s provides critical airlift capability for the nation's Joint Rapid Reaction Force and has supported humanitarian and disaster-relief missions to Pakistan, Haiti and Chile. 99 Squadron's C-17s are equipped with upgraded software and avionics, as well as additional fuel tanks that extend the aircraft's nautical mile range to over 4,000 miles. In normal operations, the aircraft carries a crew of three -- two pilots and one air-loadmaster. "May 2011 will mark the 10th anniversary of the delivery of the Royal Air Force's first C-17, which continues to perform superbly -- anytime and anywhere," said Boeing UK C-17 Program Manager Liz Pace. "The RAF uses its C-17s more than any other service today, which is why it has surpassed 60,000 flight hours with just six aircraft." The UK Ministry of Defence announced it would acquire its seventh C-17 in December 2009, less than one year before delivery. Boeing supports the RAF's C-17s through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, a performance-based logistics program, at RAF Brize Norton, the RAF's main operating base for strategic air transport and air-to-air refueling. The arrangement provides the RAF with the benefits of complete "virtual fleet" access and an extensive support network. The virtual fleet concept enables C-17 customers, especially those with smaller numbers of aircraft, to benefit from worldwide parts availability and economies of scale when purchasing materials. Boeing Defence UK Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. It currently has employees at 20 locations throughout the UK supporting Ministry of Defence and U.S. military programs. Source: Boeing Co.