Boeing remains confident of bolstering its C-17 backlog with additional international sales on top of the expected order from India, despite the challenges of maintaining unit cost in the face of reduced production rates, possible gaps in the delivery stream and no new U.S. Air Force orders.
Although the company is in the midst of a planned drawdown of production from 15 to 10 per year, “the goal is to maintain the same price,” says Tommy Dunehew, C-17 business development vice president.
Despite this being a challenging target, additional international business should help to balance the books and fill potential gaps as the company looks to stabilize at the reduced rate in 2012, Dunehew adds.
Boeing says the Indian government is “going through the final steps” toward confirming its order for 10 aircraft, with the first expected to be delivered at the end of 2012.
Based on the existing production profile, and depending on the outcome of talks over other customer deliveries planned for next year, the U.S. Air Force is set to receive its final C-17 Globemaster in September 2012.
Aside from India, additional international C-17 orders are in the cards from Kuwait, which has a letter of request for a single aircraft announced last September, plus an additional two held as options by Qatar. “Interest in Southeast Asia is growing, and there’s more in the Middle East,” says Mark Kronenberg, Boeing vice president of international business development.