McDonnell Douglas C-17 Manufacturing Building

The U.S. Air Force’s C-17 airlifter is capable of carrying combat-ready military units, including tanks and artillery, almost anywhere in the world. The 175-foot-long C-17 has a wingspan of 165-feet and a tail height of 55-feet.

Project Description: 

At the inception of the C-17 Globemaster III program (mid-1980s), McDonnell Douglas (now part of The Boeing Company) turned to The Austin Company, a strategic partner, to provide overall program management, master planning, design, engineering and construction services for the C-17 airlifter manufacturing and assembly facility in Long Beach, California.

The project included a 1.1-million SF assembly high bay manufacturing building, with extensive overhead crane systems, a 600,000 SF subassemblies facility and warehouse, a main utilities plant, a wire harness assembly facility and aircraft aprons.

Designing and building the state-of-the-art facility involved adding 700,000 SF to an existing 400,000 SF building previously used to build the DC-10 jet airliner. Austin’s design team wrapped the new space around the old in a u-shaped configuration.

The C-17 plant capacity could handle simultaneous final assembly of 10 airlifters in just one-third of its total area. Assembly bays are 780-feet long, 202-feet wide and 100-feet high to the roof parapet. The interior height is 80-feet to the bottom chord of the truss. The building also has massive hangar doors, the largest concentration in the world in one building. The building’s size is also reflected in the 2.8 miles of utility trenches and tunnels, and has an extraordinary crane system used to move major subassemblies.

Austin completed construction on a fast-track schedule in less than 18 months.

The U.S. Air Force’s C-17 airlifter is capable of carrying combat-ready military units, including tanks and artillery, almost anywhere in the world. The 175-foot-long C-17 has a wingspan of 165-feet and a tail height of 55-feet.

In addition to the C-17 manufacturing and assembly facility, Austin subsequently performed multiple projects in support of Boeing Commercial and Airlifter programs in Long Beach, including new, expanded and renovated assembly, subassembly, paint and support facilities, as well as extensive site work. Support facilities included administrative and engineering offices, central plant operations, and an employee fitness center. Austin services have included master planning, design, engineering and construction services.

Austin served Boeing at the Long Beach campus completing over $200 million in work. The Boeing Team was highly complementary of Austin's design and performance on the project.

In late 2015, The Boeing Company ended its production of the C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter in Long Beach. Boeing produced more than 250, C-17 aircraft at the Long Beach facility and will continue the Globemaster III legacy by providing support, maintenance and upgrades to the worldwide C-17 fleet.

Project Stats: 

Square Footage: 1,100,000
Austin Services Provided: Design, Engineering, Construction

Location: 

Long Beach, California

Project Client: 

McDonnell Douglas (now part of The Boeing Company)

Share