Boeing Co.s decision to end production of the C-17
Globemaster III military transport and close its Long Beach,
Calif., assembly plant in 2015 will mark the exit of one of the
largest per-plane consumers of aerospace metals and end a
nearly century-long era of major aircraft construction in
president and chief executive officer of Boeings Defense
Space & Security business, said the Chicago-based company
has been unable to attract enough foreign buyers to offset the
impact of the U.S. Air Force ending its purchase of the
While Boeing had hoped
to attract enough overseas interest to keep the program alive,
the budgets of foreign governments "cannot support additional
purchases in the timing required to keep the production line
open," he said.
Boeing had driven the
C-17 build rate down to 10 planes per year from 15 per
While this rate is
small compared with the growing production of Boeings
commercial airliners, industry observers said the C-17s
large per-plane consumption of metals would nevertheless make a
significant impact if additional buyers had been found.
Industry estimates place the buy weight of each C-17 at about
800,000 pounds of aluminum and 200,000 pounds of titanium.
Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. told AMM
that "all of our aerospace businesses" would expect to
participate in any additional C-17 sales landed overseas.
Members of United
Aerospace Workers union in Long Beach were "shocked,
devastated" and "taken off-guard" by Boeings decision,
according to Stanley G. Klemchuk, president of union Local 148,
which represents about 1,100 employees in Long Beach.
Klemchuk, who said the
demise of the C-17 is "totally unexpected," told AMM
that the union believed Boeing had "secured enough foreign
sales to keep the line warm."
In July 2012, a Boeing
executive attending an air show in Europe was reported as
saying he was "reasonably bullish" about landing additional
orders for the plane.