C-17s on a Short Runway in Long Beach

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So big and yet so vulnerable (Credit: Boeing)

So big and yet so vulnerable (Credit: Boeing)

A shout out to some fun writing in the LA Times:

For sale: a mammoth four-engine plane that can haul 60-ton tanks, troops and medical gear across continents and still land on short, shoddy runways.

Price: about $240 million; volume discounts are available.

If interested, please contact Boeing Co. at your nearest air show.

That's from an article about Boeing's full scale assault on foreign markets for the C-17 Globemaster III, also known  in some circles as Mighty Mouse, Buddha, Moose, and Barney.

Boeing has 38 jets on order, including 29 for the U.S. Air Force, 6 for the United Arab Emirates, 2 for Qatar and 1 for the United Kingdom. Potential buyers include India and Saudi Arabia, according to the Long Beach Press Telegram, which reported a week ago that Boeing is cutting back production from 15 to 10 jets annually in an effort to extend the Long Beach assembly plant's life beyond 2012.

Translation: layoffs likely among the 5,000 people who make the plane. More to come on that in mid-2011. A Boeing spokesman blames reduced domestic demand. President Obama figures the 223 Globemasters in service and on order are enough already. The Senate and House disagreed. They put in $2.5 billion for 10 more C-17s in the latest defense budget.

Some of the lobbyists who helped that happen:  Long Beach Councilmen Robert Garcia and Gary DeLong, as well as Long Beach Government Affairs Director Tom Modica.

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About Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow hosts the California Report for KQED. Over 17 years in public radio, she's worked for Marketplace and KPCC, filed for NPR and The World, and developed a sizable tea collection that's become the envy of the KQED newsroom. She specializes in politics, economics and history in California - but for emotional balance, she also covers food and its relationship to health and happiness.

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