Royal Air Force C-17 Tactical Airlifter Transports Canadian Leopard 2 Tank for Ukraine
Royal Air Force C-17 Tactical Airlifter Transports Canadian Leopard 2 Tank for Ukraine

Royal Air Force C-17 Tactical Airlifter Transports Canadian Leopard 2 Tank for Ukraine

A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft has delivered Canadian military supplies destined for use by the Ukrainian military to Europe, on behalf of the Canadian Government. The 99 Squadron aircraft from RAF Brize Norton picked up the supplies from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 8 Wing based at the Trenton Canadian Forces Base on the shores of Lake Ontario. The sortie was carried out as part of the ATARES program. The ATARES programme provides mutual support for the partner nations through an exchange of air transport services. The partnership consists of 28 European and NATO nations including the UK and Canada. On arrival in Europe the equipment was delivered to the Ukrainian military.

This C-17 flight is an example of the ongoing work that the Air Mobility Force of the RAF has been conducting as part of the UK Government’s support to Ukraine following the Russian invasion. To date, the aircraft of the Air Mobility Force have moved thousands of tonnes of military assistance for Ukraine from donors around the world. Overall, the UK has taken a leading role in facilitating international donations of military equipment via the International Donor Coordination Centre. The UK is committed to provide the capabilities Ukraine requires, including artillery, air defence and armoured vehicles, and to drive further international donations and secure lasting peace.

RAF Transport Aircraft Flies Canadian Military Assistance Supplies to Europe for Ukraine
Royal Air Force C-17 Tactical Airlifter flies Canadian Military Assistance Supplies to Europe for Ukraine. (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force)

C-17 is capable of rapid, strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases anywhere in the world. The Globemaster’s load-bearing rear ramp and digitally controlled loading systems, combined with the skills of its crews and ground handlers, enable large, complex items of equipment, including Chinook helicopters, military vehicles and other heavy items of specialist kit to be loaded. It can transport 100,000lb (45,360kg) of freight more than 4,500nm (8,334km) while flying at altitudes above 35,000ft. The aircraft’s design enables high-angle, steep approaches at relatively slow speeds, allowing it to operate into small, austere airfields and onto runways as short as 3,500ft long and just 90ft wide.

The Royal Air Force had been without an organic outsize strategic lift capability since the Short Belfast was withdrawn in 1976, relying, ironically, on civilian operated Belfasts for the movement of such loads during the 1982 Falklands War and making use of chartered freighters. By the end of the 1990s it had become clear that this capability gap ought to be filled, and in 2000 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) agreed a seven-year ‘lease and support’ contract with Boeing and the US Air Force (USAF) for four C-17A Globemaster III (Globemaster C-17) strategic transports. On August 28, 1981, the USAF had chosen the McDonnell Douglas C-17 as winner of its C-X competition for a new military transport aircraft primarily to replace the Lockheed C-141 StarLifter.

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