The fourth Boeing C-17A Globemaster III has been delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), completing Australia’s fleet.
The aircraft touched down at RAAF Amberley near Ipswich yesterday evening, and will be operated by No. 36 Squadron.
“Australia’s four C-17s have been delivered on time and on budget. This success highlights the excellent cooperation between the Royal Australian Air Force, Defence Materiel Organisation, the Boeing Company and US Air Force,” Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd said.
“The first Globemaster entered RAAF service in December 2006, and these aircraft have already made a positive impact in supporting Australian Defence Force operations.”
Globemasters have supported Operation Catalyst (Iraq), Operation PNG Assist, Operation Astute (Timor-Leste), Exercise Red Flag 2007, Exercise Bersama Shield 2007 and Exercise Talisman Saber 2007.
Air Force accepted the fourth aircraft in January this year at the Boeing facility at Long Beach California. The aircraft has since been fitted with aircraft self protection equipment.
No. 36 Squadron achieved an Initial Operational Capability with the C-17A in September 2007, and is working towards more complex roles including the airdrop of personnel and cargo and high dependency aero-medical evacuation. Full Operational Capability is scheduled for end of 2011, with the completion of in-country training systems and permanent facilities for No. 36 Squadron at RAAF Amberley.
The C-17 project also includes significant upgrades to Air Movements facilities at RAAF Bases Darwin, Townsville, Edinburgh and Pearce to support C-17A operations.
The Globemaster carries up to four times the payload of the RAAF’s other combat airlift workhorse, the C-130 Hercules. It can carry more than 70 tonnes of cargo; for example, up to three Black Hawk or Sea Hawk helicopters, or a Chinook helicopter, or five Australian Light Armoured Vehicles.