Intentional or not, that’s not what we have here, as the C-17 Globemaster III partially visible in this particular photo has been embellished with bright streaks playing over its wings, in a truly stunning light show.
At the time the pic was snapped, at the beginning of March, this representative of “the most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force” was on the deck of the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, unloading missile defense equipment.
The gear was needed as the Air Force was getting ready to kick off Exercise Arctic Edge 2022, “the largest joint exercise in Alaska,” one that draws in about 1,000 U.S. military personnel for war games alongside the Canadian Armed Forces.
This particular C-17 Globemaster III is deployed with the 145th Airlift Wing, and it’s just as capable as all of its siblings. With a maximum takeoff weight of 585,000 pounds (over 265 tons), it can carry 170,900 pounds (77.5 tons) of payload at cruise altitudes of 28,000 feet (8,534 meters).
First deployed in 1993, the fleet of Globemaster IIIs has grown to comprise close to 160 units at the time of writing.