Approval for more Australian C-17s

As reported by Airheadsfly.com last month, Australia is looking to acquire four more Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. The US State Departement has now approved a request for up to four C-17A Globemaster III aircraft and 19 F117-PW-100 Pratt & Whitney engines plus associated equipment, such as infrared countermeasure systems.

Australia’s current heavy airlift capability consists of six C-17A aircraft. According to the State Departement, the proposed sale of additional C-17As will further improve Australia’s capability to deploy rapidly in support of global coalition operations and will also greatly enhance its ability to lead regional humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

Total costs for Australia are 1.6 billion USD. The four C-17s are among the last ever produced by Boeing in Long Beach, California, where production is coming to a close in 2015, after well over 260 produced aircraft. Since the first flight on 15 September 1991, the worldwide C-17 fleet has amassed close to 3 million flying hours.

Australia received its first C-17 in December 2006, with the sixth aircraft delivered in 2012. The transporters are operated from Canberra by 36 squadron. The aircraft saw heavy use this year, with many flights in the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy and in support of current Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) operations against Islamic State (ISIS) forces in Iraq.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

RAAF C-17s together with a RNLAF KDC-10 at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on 1 August 2014 (Image © Elmer van Hest)
RAAF C-17s together with a RNLAF KDC-10 at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on 1 August 2014 (Image © Elmer van Hest)