Additional C17 for RAAF
The Australian government has confirmed that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will be receiving a sixth C-17A Globemaster III heavy-lift aircraft in a statement issued by Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare. The aircraft will be purchased through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, at a total acquisition cost of around $280 million.
The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in early 2013. The purchase of the sixth C-17A will double the number of C-17A aircraft available for operations at any one time from two to four, and will greatly increase Australia’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and provide humanitarian aid. A sixth C-17 will give the Government increased options to support a wider range of contingencies that might require heavy-lift aircraft and will extend the life of the C-17 fleet by reducing the use of each aircraft.
The need for advanced heavy-lift capabilities has been made even more apparent through the Australian Defence Force response to the 2011 Victorian Floods, Cyclone Yasi and the Queensland floods, as well as the earthquake in Christchurch and the tsunami in Japan.
The C 17A aircraft can lift very large and heavy cargoes over long distances providing a significant contribution to Australia’s ability to reach and respond to events. One C 17A can carry up to four C-130 Hercules loads in a single lift and cover twice the distance in three-quarters of the time of a C 130.
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