LONG BEACH (CNS) – An end of an era is approaching, as the final C-17 to be built for the U.S. military is nearing completion at a historic Long Beach aircraft manufacturing plant, it was reported Sunday.
The 223rd C-17 “Globemaster” transport plane to be built at the former McDonnell Douglas plant, now a part of Boeing, will be handed over to the U.S. Air Force on Thursday, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.
Ten more of the jet planes will be built over the next year for the government of India, and Boeing officials hope to win other international contracts to keep the plant alive, the newspaper reported. It’s the last big aircraft assembly line active in the Los Angeles area, once home to several busy aerospace companies.
Boeing has already announced plans to establish a new engineering design center for commercial aircraft at Long Beach. That facility will be an incubator for young talent.
In addition, Boeing’s commercial plane engineers will be moved from Seattle to offices near the Long Beach International Airport under plans announced earlier this year.
McDonnell Douglas started the process to fabricate the C-17s in 1981, and it originally looked like problems with the plane would cap the number to be built at 40, according to the Press-Telegram report. Errors were corrected and the C-17 became an Air Force workhorse.
More than 60,000 people in 44 states helped build more than 250 C-17s for the U.S. and foreign military, a Boeing official estimated. The plane can carry a tank, or three Stryker infantry vehicles. in its belly.
It has routinely ferried up to 800 soldiers per trip to and from Afghanistan or Iraq, the Press-Telegram reported.