A November 12 US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notification has revealed Australia has formally requested “up to four” more Boeing C-17A Globemaster II airlifters from the US government.
The notification states that up to four C-17s and associated equipment, parts and logistical support have been requested for an estimated US$1.609bn (A$1.85bn).
The extra equipment includes 19 P&W F117-PW-100 engines, four AN/AAQ-24V Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) sets, and various other electronic warfare, communications and navigation systems.
It also includes unspecified spare and repair parts, supply and test equipment, training and training equipment, technical documentation, logistics, and technical support services.
The formal notification comes after Defence Minister Senator David Johnston speculated in August that government was looking at acquiring additional C-17s and possibly KC-30A (A330) MRTT tankers. He later confirmed government’s intention to acquire between two and four more C-17s in an October 3 media statement.
If all four aircraft are acquired, it will take the RAAF’s fleet of C-17s to 10, the second largest fleet of the type after that of the USAF. The RAAF’s C-17s are operated by 36SQN based at Amberley. There is no word yet on whether one or two additional KC-30s will be acquired as well.
With production of the C-17 due to end in 2015, Boeing has built about 10 “white tailed” aircraft on speculation that these can be sold to new or existing customers of the aircraft. There is believed to be interest for additional aircraft from India, Canada and the UK, and possibly new customers in the Middle East.