President Clinton today signed into law the fiscal year 1996 budget accord forthe U. S. Government that contains language approving a multi-year purchase of80 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and engines.
The Department of Defense inFebruary 1996 asked Congress to approve the multi-year buy which will bring theC-17 fleet to 120 aircraft.
The multi-year purchase is expected to save almost $1 billion over year-to-yearaircraft buys.
The contract will be the longest and the largest multi-yearcontract ever and will be worth about $16.8 billion to McDonnell Douglas andPratt and Whitney.
Those companies will employ more than 18,000 workers toproduce the aircraft and engines.
The President said, "I am committed to a strong and ready military--one that issecond-to-none.
And I remain committed to a streamlined and reformed militarypurchasing process.
The C-17 transport fits both categories.
It is a successstory that results in major savings of taxpayers' dollars and creates jobs."
The C-17 is the Air Force's highest priority near-term modernization program.Its continued purchases will guarantee that the airlift capability of thenation will be maintained uninterrupted as the workhorse C-141 is retired fromservice over the next decade.
The C-17 already has flown operational missions in support of Operation JointEndeavor in Bosnia.
Its cargo included pontoons used by the Army to build theSava River bridge.
Recently, five C-17s have been flying in support ofcivilian evacuation from war torn Liberia.
The aircraft provided safe havenfor 400 people and carried 457 tons of cargo.