Australian Government Today announced that it has decided to acquire two additional Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft for its Air Force’s existing fleet of six lift aircraft.
The acquisition of the two additional C-17s – and associated equipment and facilities – represents an investment of $1 billion in Australia’s security and the ability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to respond to a range of contingencies.
This project will also provide significant work opportunities for local industry.
$300 million of the investment will be spent on upgraded facilities at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, including a dedicated maintenance hangar and increased apron and taxi-way space to cater for heavy aircraft including the KC-30 Aerial Re-Fuelling Tankers as well as the C-17 fleet.
The two additional C-17s will provide vital heavy airlift support to a range of regional and global coalition operations and greatly increase Australia’s capacity to provide rapid and effective disaster rescue and relief and humanitarian aid.
Since they were first acquired at the initiative of the Howard Government, C-17 aircraft have transformed the ADF’s capacity to transport large loads over long distances and to deploy its vehicles, helicopters and heavy equipment within Australia and overseas.
C-17s have been integral to recent ADF operations that includes delivery of equipment, personnel and more than 175 pallets of aid as part of Operation Pacific Assist in Vanuatu, provision of much-needed humanitarian aid and materiel in Iraq, recovery of MH17 victims from Eastern Ukraine, and relief assistance to those affected by the Japanese tsunami, the Christchurch earthquake and the Queensland floods.
Australia has worked closely with the United States Air Force to acquire the first aircraft within six months of the initial order and the second aircraft within ten months of the delivery of the first. This will mean that the ADF will gain additional operating capability within a short time-frame.