2008: Qatar is negotiating to buy four
American C-17 aircraft, and use them mainly for humanitarian support, and to supply peacekeeping operations. The C-17 is
a combat transport, and thus equipped to operate in primitive conditions. The
C-17 has been very visible in combat zones, and disaster areas. During the last
five years, many aid workers have flown in it, and been impressed by its
ruggedness, reliability and capabilities.
three plane deal will cost about $800 million, although Qatar apparently wants
to buy two, with an option to get two more in a hurry. Qatar has been blunt
about wanting the aircraft so their efforts will be noticed, and a large
transport will be seen landing in a disaster, with Arab markings on it.
The C-17 can carry up to 77 tons of cargo, or
102 troops (along with some cargo). Vehicles can also be transported in the
cargo compartment (88 feet long, 18 feet wide and 12 feet high.) There are
currently 187 of these aircraft in service (173 in the U.S. Air Force, six in
Britain, four in Australia, and four in Canada.)