The Australian Government has begun the process of purchasing two additional C-17A Globemaster strategic airlift aircraft, Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston announced today.
Senator Johnston said should the Government elect to exercise this option the two extra Globemasters would significantly enhance the Royal Australian Air Force’s capacity for operational tasks, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in our region and around the world.
“Since the first delivery in 2006, we have seen the C-17A Globemaster perform exceptionally well at the forefront of Australia’s military operations and humanitarian work,” he said.
“Recent global events have seen Australia’s national capabilities like the C-17A come to the fore to assist our friends and allies.
“The C-17A Globemasters have been integral in supporting Australians at home and abroad, assisting in our aid to communities in Queensland and Victoria after flooding and cyclones, Operation Bring Them Home from the Ukraine and the search for MH370 off the West Australian coast.”
Senator Johnston said in recent years the C-17As had also delivered humanitarian aid and medical supplies to nations following natural disasters, such as the widespread flooding in Pakistan in 2010 and the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 in New Zealand.
“The ability to rapidly react and move large elements of Australia’s support systems over long distances during these times has highlighted the need for us to have a good sized fleet.
“The aircraft is also currently supporting Australian and Coalition forces in Afghanistan and the Middle East, providing a military long-range, strategic heavy airlift capability between Australia and the world,” Senator Johnston said.
Senator Johnston said the current fleet of six C-17As was based at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, and an additional two would integrate seamlessly into the fleet.
The Government has requested pricing and availability data for two further aircraft through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Decisions on these aircraft are being informed by the force structure review currently under way within Defence as part of the White Paper process.