A £260 million agreement with the United States Government to support RAF C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft into the next decade has been signed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The Foreign Military Sale agreement will provide support for the RAF’s fleet of eight C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, which provided lifesaving humanitarian relief following Hurricane Irma last summer.
Defence Minister Guto Bebb said these "giants take everything from heavy equipment to vital troops to where they’re needed right across the globe":
"This deal keeps them in the air into the next decade and affirms our leadership, alongside our American allies, in providing global security and humanitarian aid as we stand together in defence of our shared values.
It provides the RAF with long-range strategic heavy-lift ability, meaning it can deliver equipment and supplies close to where UK troops are on operations.
According to the MoD, the deal will sustain more than 50 jobs in the UK through the support of a Boeing team at RAF Brize Norton.
Defence Equipment & Support Chief of Materiel (Air), Air Marshal Julian Young, said:
"The signature of this deal has come about through the close relationship the Ministry of Defence has with our counterparts in the US, and will deliver world-leading support for the front line.
"It means the UK will be able to continue to depend on the C-17’s remarkable capabilities in support of operations all over the world."
The deal, which extends and builds upon an existing arrangement, will run until 2022.