February 20, 2019 | 07:46 pm GMT+7

Military plane carrying Trump's copter takes on heavy responsibilities

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is not only the backbone of American military transportation, but also the go-to vehicle for its leaders during foreign visits.

Take a closer look at the transport aircraft carrying Trumps copter

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III about to land at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi Wednesday, carrying a Marine One helicopter and other equipment for U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming Vietnam visit for the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do

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The aircraft lands on the tarmac at the Noi Bai International Airport. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do

The C-17 Globemaster III is a heavyweight military aircraft developed by Berkeley-based aerospace manufacturing firm McDonnell Douglas at the end of the 1980s for strategic and tactical transportation, capable of carrying weapons and soldiers to any location in the world.

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A C-17 in a training session in Washington state, November 2018.

The aircraft was nicknamed Globemaster following two previous heavyweight transporation aircraft developed by McDonnell Douglas – the C-74 Globemaster and C-124 Globemaster II.

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An entourage of cars that served Trump during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Da Nang in November 2017, loaded on to the C-17 Globemaster III.

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Among the vehicles that the C-17 carries on presidential trips are two Cadillac cars nicknamed 'Beasts.'

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The C-17 also carries either the Marine One VH-3D or VH-60N helicopter during foreign visits, just in case Trump is unable to travel from the airport's runway to his intended destination.

When transported by the C-17, helicopters have their rotors removed. These will be reassembled by American technicians upon arrival.

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Each C-17 is 53 meters long and 17 meters high. 

Each of its wings spans 52 meters. It is equipped with four F117-PW-100 turbine engines, allowing it to fly at 830km/h and reach 10,000 kilometers in altitude while carrying parachuters.

A typical C-17 crew comprises three people, two pilots and a loader.

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A C-17's hold is 5.5 meters wide and 4.6 meters high, allowing a carrying capacity of 77 tons - 102 fully-equipped parachuters or three steel-plated Stryker (armored car) or one M1 Abrams tank. It can also carry four UH-60 Black Hawk transportation helicopters or two AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.

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The C-17 Globemaster III can function on multiple runway types, even those that are not cemented. It can also run backwards without supporting vehicles, which is highly useful in runways in warzones or places with little logistical support. This aircraft is also capable of landing on a 914 meters long runway while carrying 72 tons.

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The C-17 is equipped with a AN/AAR-47 sensor system around its hull for self-defense, allowing pilots to detect missiles by the heat in their emissions. Once the system detects an approaching missile, it will trigger a AN/ALE-47 heat baiting system, which works on both heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles.

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After 30 years of service, the C-17 Globemaster III is considered the backbone of American military transportation as well as the go-to vehicle for its leaders during foreign visits.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

Staff reporters