LCMC: Powerful C-17 engine program managed at Robins

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
The turbofan engines that power every C-17 Globemaster III in the Air Force fleet has now transitioned into a sustainment phase.

The final F117-PW-100 engine, produced by Pratt & Whitney, is scheduled to be delivered to the Air Force this month. It will be the 1,313th engine the company has produced for the military and through foreign military sales. 

Program oversight of those engines, which reaches across the globe through partnerships with several nations, is managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's C-17 Program Office at Robins.

"We ensure continued support of the engine; we ensure it's overhauled and that parts are available to support the field," said Chuck Keown, Robins C-17 engine program manager. "Now that the engines are out of production, we will be responsible for engine sustainment." 

Each of the aircraft's four engines generates 40,400 pounds of thrust and weighs over 7,000 pounds. Its thrust reversers direct airflow upward and forward to avoid ingestion of things such as dust and debris. 

The engines are tasked to fly a minimum of 4,400 N1 cycles - an aircraft's flight cycles from idle to full thrust and back. According to Keown, C-17 engines are currently averaging 5,700 N1 cycles. 

Bennett Croswell, P&W Military Engines president, said, "This is a bittersweet occasion for those of us who have played a part in developing and delivering the F117 engine to our customers over the years. The F117 production engine program might be ending, but we look forward to working with our customers around the world to sustain their engines, and to keep the C-17 fleet flying for decades to come."

The Air Force received final delivery of a C-17 in 2013, its 223rd aircraft; and celebrated a major milestone in 2015 with the fleet reaching 3 million flying hours. Since the aircraft is no longer in production, according to Keown, the engine was the last major end item that will now transition into sustainment. 

While Robins maintainers don't work on the engines, the 562nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is dedicated to programmed depot maintenance of the aircraft. An occasion was also marked in December when the squadron produced the 500th C-17 here. That number represents aircraft which were at the depot for maintenance or modifications. 

The C-17 Program Office at Robins - with personnel co-located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio - includes foreign military sales and Boeing representatives responsible for sustainment, modification, maintenance and service of the entire fleet. 

Partner nations that fly the C-17, who host representatives in the program office, include the United Kingdom, Qatar, Australia, Canada and the NATO Airlift Management Program.