UAE Boosts Airlift Capabilities

 - March 16, 2009, 10:48 AM

Dramatically expanding the country’s airlift capabilities, the United Arab Emirates plans to add Boeing C-17s and Lockheed Martin C-130Js. The country is purchasing four C-17 Globemaster IIIs for AED4.3 billion ($1.17 billion), and 12 C-130Js for AED5.9 billion ($1.6 billion). Financial management of the purchases has been assigned to Al Waha Capital, and deliveries are scheduled for 2012 and 2013. The contracts will also cover support and training packages.

This massive airlift purchase is in line with the UAE’s aims of expanding its international role, particularly in the areas of support for peacekeeping forces and humanitarian assistance. The UAE Air Force and Air Defense currently operates a small number of C-130Hs. The 12 Super Hercules on order will all be for the stretched C-130J-30 version, and it is possible that four will be completed to KC-130J tanker/transport configuration.

The C-17 order comes as more good news for Boeing’s Long Beach, Calif. production line, following an announcement on February 6 that the U.S. Air Force would purchase 15 more C-17s for $2.95 billion, raising the service’s total to 205 and extending the production line into late 2010. NATO and Qatar both have two C-17s on order.

Also at IDEX, the UAE ordered the conversion of two DHC-8-Q300 aircraft for maritime patrol. Provincial Aerospace will perform the conversion.