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C-17 PROGRAM FORGES FORWARD

 C-17 PROGRAM FORGES FORWARD
 FARNBOROUGH, England, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Significant


achievements in the C-17 airlifter program -- highlighted by delivery of six of the versatile new transports to the U.S. Air Force -- were recorded in the past year, a McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD) executive said here today.
 "Six C-17s have been delivered in the past 12 months, starting with the C-17's inaugural flight on Sept. 15, 1991," said Tom Ryan, McDonnell Douglas vice president-general manager of product support for the C-17 program. "Four of the aircraft are now flying in the flight test program, and two are undergoing ground-based structural testing."
 More than 470 hours have been flown by the four aircraft test fleet, which averaged more than 85 hours per month during July and August. "That is the best record for large transport and bomber aircraft in the Air Force's recent flight test history," Ryan said.
 "We have established an assembly line production rate of six aircraft per year, and the cost of quality is improving 20 percent from ship-to-ship. Assembly hours for the sixth production aircraft are 60 percent less than the initial production aircraft," he said.
 Ryan, representing McDonnell Douglas' transport aircraft unit at the Farnborough International Air Show, said the C-17 program's success in the past year "now allows us to market the aircraft on a global basis. We believe, as the capabilities of the aircraft are being demonstrated in flight test, that European and other countries will recognize how the C-17 can help fulfill their airlift needs going into the 21st century."
 Ryan said he anticipates a market for 50 to 75 aircraft from other countries who, like the United States, see the C-17 as the answer to rapid deployment of troops, equipment and supplies to potential trouble spots or disaster areas throughout the globe.
 The C-17 is the only airlifter in the world designed to carry outsize cargo, troops and humanitarian aid across international distances and land on forward, unimproved airstrips as short as 3,000 feet and as narrow as 90 feet. This opens thousands of airfields not currently able to accommodate strategic airlifters.
 C-17s in the flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., have established the aircraft's initial flight envelope and accumulated enough flying hours to demonstrate its performance capabilities, Ryan said. The aircraft has flown at 40,000 feet altitude and a speed of Mach .875, or 590 miles per hour. It has opened its cargo door, cargo ramp and troop doors in flight, has accomplished aerial refuelings, has landed in less than 2,000 feet and has taken off with a weight of 356,000 pounds in less than 1,200 feet.
 As of Sept. 1, 1992, the three aircraft in the flight test program had flown a combined total of 459.8 flight hours. The test aircraft, T-1, had flown 100 missions for 326 flight hours. The first production aircraft, P-1, had recorded 14 missions for 52.3 flight hours; and P-2 had flown 21 missions for 81.5 hours.
 The U.S. Air Force plans to acquire 120 C-17s, with the first full squadron operational by the end of 1994. International orders to supplement U.S. Air Force orders would enable McDonnell Douglas to increase the C-17 production rate and consequently reduce unit costs for all customers, Ryan said.
 "Adding three to five aircraft per year to the production schedule will help maintain our skilled workforce and continue the productivity improvements we are seeing on the assembly line," Ryan said.
 Last April, the U.S. Air Force established the C-17 baseline for foreign military sales and granted authority for offering the airlifter to NATO and Special Treaty Nations.
 "Serious interest in the C-17 has been expressed by the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan and Canada," Ryan said. He added that an interesting prospect being considered is a multination C-17 task force in which costs of maintenance and training could be shared.
 -0- 9/8/92
 /CONTACT: Larry McCracken of Farnborough Air Show, 252-381300; or Jim Ramsey of McDonnell Douglas Transport Aircraft, 310-522-2567/
 (MD) CO: McDonnell Douglas Corp. ST: IN: ARO SU:


LS-KJ -- LA036 -- 7185 09/08/92 16:56 EDT
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Date:Sep 8, 1992
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