The RAAF officially welcomed its eighth and last Boeing C-17 Globemaster airlifter into service at RAAF Base Amberley on Wednesday.
The aircraft, A41-212, landed at Amberley on Monday, with the final delivery marked by a small ceremony at Amberley on Wednesday attended by Minister for Defence Materiel and Science Mal Brough, Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies and Syd Blocher, Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s vice president Australia business development.
“With extraordinary lift and range, the C-17A Globemaster is an integral part of the Australian Defence Force’s airlift capability. It allows Australia to rapidly deploy troops, combat equipment, tanks, helicopters and humanitarian resources worldwide,” Minister Brough said.
“The C-17A Globemaster has played a central role in the ADF’s activities, including supporting the international effort to combat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, recovering the victims of the MH17 tragedy in the Ukraine, and delivering disaster relief to victims of the Vanuatu cyclone and Queensland floods.”
Australia’s acquisition of two additional C-17s, taking the fleet from six to eight, was confirmed in April in a $1 billion project comprising $700 million for the two aircraft plus sustainment, and a further $300 million for a new, dedicated C-17 maintenance hangar plus aircraft hardstand and taxiway upgrades at Amberley.
“The C-17A Globemaster is an incredibly versatile aircraft. It allows us to provide an air bridge from Australia with supplies to the men and women deployed around the world, support Army operations, and assist at home with disaster relief such as the Queensland floods,” Air Marshal Davies said.
“Additional aircraft mean we can better meet the demands of moving personnel and equipment, within the short timeframes required in emergency situations, such as floods and cyclones.”
Boeing has now shut down its Long Beach, California C-17 final assembly plant with work on the 279th and last C-17 completed earlier this year. The seventh and eighth Australian C-17s were acquired from a final batch of 10 Boeing built as ‘white tails’ – aircraft built without a customer.
Australia initially ordered four C-17s in 2006 which were delivered between December that year and January 2008. The fifth and sixth aircraft were delivered in 2011 and 2012.