Greg Combet, the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, announced that tomorrow the Air Force will accept its fourth C-17A Globemaster III aircraft during a ceremony at Boeing’s plant in Long Beach, California.
Just two years after Australia decided to purchase four Globemasters for the heavy air lift role, the accelerated acquisition program has delivered the giant aircraft on time and on budget.
“The rapid delivery and integration of the Globemaster into Australian service represents a wonderful achievement for Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Defence Materiel Organisation, the United States Air Force and Boeing,” Mr Combet said.
“The Globemaster provides a quantum leap in air lift capability. Air Force is already demonstrating the great value that Globemasters bring to Defence’s domestic and international operations.”
Last November, a Globemaster transported 26 tonnes of humanitarian relief supplies at short notice to Port Moresby as part of Operation PNG Assist, following the destruction caused by Cyclone Guba.
The Globemaster can carry four times the payload of the RAAF’s existing
C-130 Hercules, and fly that load faster and further.
This aircraft will be fitted with defensive countermeasure equipment in the United States before it is delivered to Australia in early March.
The C-17 project’s $2.2 billion budget includes the construction of permanent facilities for Number 36 Squadron and its support agencies at RAAF Base Amberley. The project also includes significant improvements to Air Movements facilities at RAAF Bases Darwin, Townsville, Edinburgh and Pearce.
In 2008, a variety of air lift roles are planned to be cleared for Australia’s Globemasters, including aero-medical evacuation, in which the C-17 will be configured to carry six high-dependency patients or 36 low-dependency patients.
Air Force’s C-17 Fleet Delivered On Time, On Budget