Australia has finalised a deal to buy a sixth Boeing C-17A Globemaster for about $280 million, the government announced yesterday.
The aircraft, purchased through the US Foreign Military Sales program, is expected to arrive in Australia early next year.
In a joint statement, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Material Jason Clare said the C-17 had proven its worth since the first heavy lifter entered Australian service in 2005.
Last year, the RAAF’s C-17s flew more than 1.2 million nautical miles and delivered 755 tonnes of supplies to Australian troops in Afghanistan, more than 500 tonnes of cargo to Japan following the earthquake and tsunami, and more than 320 tonnes of food and other supplies to flooded areas of Queensland.
“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 ministers said in the statement.