Dec 19, 2014

No C-17 delivered to Algeria, Boeing confirms

Algeria has not received into service a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter, the manufacturer confirmed on 17 December.
A C-17 in Algerian Air Force (al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Jaza'eriya) markings was reported to have landed at Algiers Houari Boumediene Airport on 10 December, the Secret Difa3 blog reported eyewitnesses as saying. However, it has since emerged that this may have in fact been an aircraft belonging to the Qatar Emiri Air Force, though it is unclear how the roundels could have been confused.
With the C-17 production line due to close down in early 2015, there had been speculation that Algeria's interest may have come too late.
When Boeing announced the line closure in 2013, it said it was to build additional aircraft, dubbed 'white-tails', in the expectation that customers would be found (India and Kuwait were the only contracted customers still to receive aircraft at the time of the announcement).
According to Boeing, there were 10 white-tails remaining before the company recently sold two "to an undisclosed customer". The identity of this customer remains unknown.
In November Australia signed for four more aircraft, leaving just four of the white-tail C-17s available. Canada is reportedly interested in acquiring another aircraft, India has previously stated that it would like a further six (although the numbers on the line no longer remain for this to happen), and there are reports that New Zealand has expressed an interest in one or two as well. Earlier reported interest from NATO and the Partnership for Peace nations for additional aircraft is no longer there. The same is true for the United Kingdom, which had suggested procuring more aircraft but will not now do so.
With its current strategic transport inventory made of the Soviet-era Ilyushin Il-76 'Candid' platforms, and with its tactical C-130H Hercules platforms having been procured from the United States in the early 1980s, Algeria has been looking to update its airlift capabilities.
To this end, it ordered six Airbus Defence and Space (DS) C295 tactical transport aircraft in 2005, five of which have been delivered. In addition to the C295 and still desired C-17 procurements, Algeria has also expressed interest in the Airbus DS A330-200 MultiRole Tanker Transport (MRTT) and Boeing KC-46A Pegasus aircraft, although again there has been no confirmation of any contract having been placed.
As indicated by these latest procurements and expressions of interest, Algeria is increasingly looking to buy Western rather than Russian military equipment across its fleet types.
In 2009 AgustaWestland signed a contract for up to 100 helicopters (following on from a 2007 order for Merlin and Lynx search-and-rescue helicopters) for Algeria, and US company General Atomics has reportedly been in discussions with regard to its Predator-series unmanned aerial vehicle. In addition, the country has also been linked to the possible sale of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Saab Gripen E/F, and Dassault Rafale fighters, as well as Saab Erieye and Boeing 737 airborne early warning aircraft.

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