The U.S. Marine Corps is turning to GSA listed suppliers for an upgrade to their 1970s-era transport planes. Boeing’s C-40 Clipper is the USMC’s choice to replace two of its C-9B Skytrain executive transports.
C-40 Clippers are also expected to take over for C-9s currently in operation with the U.S. Naval Reserve and U.S. Air Force. Here’s a look at this 737-based aircraft and where it fits in with military programs.
Overview of C-40 Clippers
C-40s in use by the military come in three different models:
The C-40A is a Navy aircraft created by adding a larger cargo door along with stronger wings and landing gear to a 737-700C frame. Its robust navigation system is an advantage in Third World airports with older ground systems.
The USAF’s C-40B has superior technological capabilities, serving as an “office in the sky” for military and government leaders. Its primary feature is a Connexion system that provides secure in-flight broadband connectivity.
The C-40C, another USAF aircraft, is a counterpart to the Navy’s C-40A. Both models can serve as all-passenger, all-cargo or passenger/cargo combination transports.
USMC Order for C-40 Clippers
The USMC’s order for two C-40 Clippers comes amid concerns about continued durability of their aging C-9 aircraft. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is supporting a survey conducted by the USMC to find a supplier for the C-40s. While NAVAIR is expressing willingness to consider used aircraft, experts believe Boeing will ultimately receive the order.
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