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Two extra C-17s confirmed, two further aircraft under consideration

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 3, 2014
Australia is looking to acquire two additional C-17s. (Defence)
Australia is looking to acquire at least two additional C-17s. (Defence)

UDPATED –  The RAAF could operate a total fleet of up to 10 Boeing C-17A Globemasters after Defence Minister Senator David Johnston announced on Friday that Australia is to acquire at least two additional C-17s and is considering the acquisition of a further two examples of the heavylift transport.

Six C-17s are already in service with the RAAF’s 36 Squadron, based at Amberley west of Brisbane.

“Should the government elect to exercise this option, the two extra Globemasters would significantly enhance the Royal Australian Air Force’s capacity for operational tasks, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in our region and around the world,” Minister Johnston said in a statement.

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Further, the Minister said that the government has requested pricing and availability data through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program for a further two C-17s, which would take the total RAAF fleet to 10. Decisions regarding the acquisition of the ninth and tenth aircraft are being informed by the Force Structure Review being developed as part of the 2015 Defence White Paper process, he said in a statement on Friday.

“Since the first delivery in 2006, we have seen the C-17A Globemaster perform exceptionally well at the forefront of Australia’s military operations and humanitarian work. Recent global events have seen Australia’s national capabilities like the C-17A come to the fore to assist our friends and allies.”

The additional C-17s would integrate seamlessly into the existing fleet based at RAAF Base Amberley, the Defence Minister added.

The Minister first revealed the government was considering extra C-17s in an August interview with News Limited, where he called the acquisition a “no-brainer“.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The opportunity to acquire additional C-17s is limited. Boeing is currently building its 269th and last C-17 at its Long Beach, California plant, with production due to wind up next year. However, the company is building 15 “white tail” aircraft without a customer to date. India (which already has 10 on order) is reportedly interested in a numbr of these, and Boeing remains in ongoing discussions with other existing C-17 operators and potential new customers regarding the remaining aircraft.

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.

Steer your own in-flight experience – available on print and digital Whether our classic glossy magazine in your letterbox, daily news updates in your inbox, peeling back a few layers in the podcast or our monthly current affair reports, you can count on us to keep you up to date. Sign up today for just $99.95 for more exclusive offers here. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

27 Comments

  • stuart

    says:

    fingers crossed a great asset

  • Raymond

    says:

    It is interesting (assuming these two extra aircraft are ordered) that the RAAF’s C-17 fleet will have doubled from the original ‘up to four’ ordered by the Howard government as an additional investment.

    A similar thing is occurring with the Super Hornets – an additional 12 (Growlers) have been ordered, from the Howard government’s original ‘one-off’ investment of $6 billion over 10 years for a fleet of 24 aircraft.

    This is exceptional, considering that there are now also 72 F-35 JSF’s approved as well, together with other new capabilities (e.g. E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C) and the fact that almost every airborne asset has been recently replaced or soon will be. Great times for the RAAF.

  • Andrew

    says:

    Fantastic news. You can never have enough of these superb airlift aircraft. Over the next decade the RAAF will be transformed into a truly powerful force by world standards. Very timely considering the increasingly erratic and militarily expansionist behaviour of Communist China. I believe the RAAF will be acquiring at least 2 additional KC-30A MRRT aircraft and the Navy acquisition of 16 F-35B aircraft to operate from the LHDs is a done deal. Hopefully the Navy acquisition will not stop the RAAF acquiring the planned final 28 F-35A aircraft in addition to the 72 already approved. Hopefully this final tranche of 28 will not replace the 24 Super Hornets with 1 Squadron as these aircraft will still be providing superb capabilities in 2030 with upgrades outlined in the Advanced Super Hornet proposal.

  • Gary

    says:

    Guys, I think if you re-read the announcement, the two C-17s are a done deal with a further two under consideration subject to the Force Structure Review.

  • Peter

    says:

    Perhaps if all 4 are confirmed, it may be possible to have these 4 based at Richmond, as a separate Flight, but still under the 36 Sqn banner. With the 10 Spartans to now be based at Amberley, it would make sense to spread the capabilities, and justify some expenditure to upgrade Richmond facilities. Perhaps another Sim to be based at Richmond also.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Andrew – I believe it to be unlikely that 16 F-35B’s will be acquired as well as another 28 F-35A’s. I think it much more likely that any B models will come at the expense of A models, especially considering that the ‘B’ is considerably more expensive than the ‘A’. Furthermore, the intent of the final batch of up to 28 F-35’s was to replace the 24 Super Hornets circa 2030. As nice as it would be, to think that the RAAF will end up fielding 100 F-35A’s, 16 F-35B’s, 24 F/A-18F’s and 12 EA-18G’s all concurrently (over 150 fighter / strike airframes) is somewhat ambitious and fanciful! Also, any incorporation of Advanced Super Hornet features into the RAAF fleet would be subject to US decisions and funding, as commonality between USN and RAAF fleets is essentially a pre-requisite.

    Gary – the article has been updated. The original version only stated that Australia was looking to acquire an additional two C-17’s.

    Wow, it’s grown from ‘an extra one or two’ only about 6 weeks ago to an extra four! So the RAAF will end up with at least the same number of C-17’s if not more in comparison with the RAF with their 8! I would be very interested to know what plans are in place for RAAF Amberley as far as hardstands for all these additional aircraft are concerned, if not hangars to protect them from the elements. Note that there are now another 28 or so aircraft on the way for Amberley: 12 Growlers, up to four C-17’s, at least two KC-30’s, as well as the 10 C-27J’s.

    Is Boeing conducting an auction for the remaining ‘white-tails’?! There must be a bit of a scramble for the rest if we’re taking four now – or else the RAAF has had an unofficial ‘reserved’ sign on these for a while… I hazard a guess that India is dragging its feet on its reported additional six airframes (as most Indian defence procurements are a long-winded, drawn-out process).

  • Steve

    says:

    As was said about the announced C-27J basing at Amberley – that base is getting crowded!

  • Mark

    says:

    Please clarify/confirm Andrew/Editor – (1) the 12 Growlers are the second 12 of the original 24 Super Hornets, which unlike the first 12, have additional wiring to enable then to be transformed from an F model to a G model? ie there is not a further 12 in addition to the original 24 is there?, and (2) How advanced is the order for 16 F-35B aircraft that you mentioned above Andrew – under formal RAAF or Ministerial consideration / order contract signed?

  • Grant McHerron

    says:

    Does Amberley have enough tarmac for all these C17s and all the KC30As when the test/eval aircraft return to Oz?

    Guess we’ll see a number of them on deployment at any one time 🙂

  • Dan

    says:

    Fantastic effort, really shows a lot of forward thinking by this Government. With 8 and possibly 10 C-17’s on the books it really will give the RAAF some serious long term lift capability. You don’t have to look too far back in our history to recall our embarrassing lack of strategic lift capability i.e. East Timor and the early days of Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. We are stepping up to the plate! Great days for the ADF.

  • Chris Grealy

    says:

    So that will be, let’s see….close enough to $1billion USD. Good thing there’s no “Budget Emergency” since the Noalition came to power.

  • adammudhen

    says:

    @Andrew, not sure where you get the Navy acquiring 16 F-35Bs is a “done deal”. If (and that “if” is quite a way off still) any B model F-35s are to purchased, I fully expect them to be operated by the RAAF (albeit with considerable naval cooperation). I highly doubt we’ll see the FAA stand up a fast-jet force given that by then they won’t have had the capability for over 40 years. Simply “plugging in” another RAAF squadron (or Flight) would be much more straight forward.

    Any F-35Bs would be purchased to provide a short term, limited ship-borne (or even FOB) capability. They aren’t intended to provide a genuine carrier force.

  • Andy

    says:

    What is there to consider ? C-17 cheaper by the dozen and give RAAF ability it realy needs.
    And willl give us more abilty to help RNZAF out, keys Government has pruned the RNZAF too much

  • australianaviation.com.au

    says:

    Mark

    The 12 Growlers are in addition to the 24 Super Hornets. The 12 jets that were pre-configured for Growler will not be modified at this stage.

    It was another ‘Andrew’ who claimed the F-35Bs is a done deal – believe me when I say it isn’t, and that Defence is advising against buying F-35Bs despite the PM and MINDEF being very interested in getting them.

    Phase 2C will likely be additional F-35As to replace the Rhinos in ~2028-30.

    Cheers

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • australianaviation.com.au

    says:

    Grant

    AMB has eight parking spots on the northern ramp plus the hangar, and can overflow to the old air movements ramp south of the Super Hornet carports if necessary. A second hangar is planned, but there has been no info about whether the ramp will be expanded.

    Some of the older hangars near the tower will likely be redeveloped so they may end up accommodating 35SQN.

    Cheers

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • Gordy

    says:

    Its all neato,..But the Flood mitigation issue per last 2011 Floods will require a lot of thinking and perhaps moving around other infrastructure if raising the hard standing and taxying tarmac levels in the north. There’s always the North West Area I guess. The old Air Movements tarmac is an answer, but perhaps for 35 Sqn’s new C-27Js. Anyway, they’ll sort that out.

    With at least 8 C-17As, we will have depth and attrition(God forbid) to maintain the capacity for decades to come, even if only 6 are used at any one time, in store rotation, to reduced accumulation of hours/Wear.

    Given the Army’s Land 400 future buy, the days of a C-130 delivering a 12.5 ton M113 from the back (Dili 1999)are over. Some of these new CRV/IFV etc will be between 27 to 35 tonnes in weight,..so it makes sense to increase the Squadron number on this basis alone. When carrying single Armour items, the numbers do matter.

    As for the future,…I’d say the 12 prewired F/A-18F Plus will be used as attrition (or in augmenting an increased 16 E/A-18G aircraft Sqn, with rotating airframes) or inclusive in a separate training flight when the last F-35A batch is ordered. The first twelve will be consumed as parts or sold back to USN I guess.

    Anyway, its a an interesting time, with a Government who actually stands by the ADF. Now if they can get those 182 Auto Grenade Systems and importantly get those 18 SP 155mm back on the ordering list for the Army 🙂

  • David

    says:

    With this Government you can guarantee they will act wisely and acquire more examples of the C17

  • B. Harrison

    says:

    All I wanted for Xmas was 4 more C-17’s (which it looks like I’ve got) 3-5 more KC-30’s (including VIP) and some F-35B’s for the navy (16-20). Them my Xmas list is complete.

  • Andrew

    says:

    To Andrew McLaughlin,
    In a battle between Defence Dept bureaucrats and the PM and MinDef over the F-35B for Navy who do you think will win? My money is on the PM and MINDEF for 16 F-35Bs. Time will tell, but ADF is going to grow a whole lot larger over the next 10-15 years and possess capabilities we thought were not budgetary possibilities today. The growing military instability in the international environment has thrown open the doors to purchasing equipment we thought we couldn’t afford but necessity/fear does tend to focus the mind.

  • Steve

    says:

    @Cris Grearly. Budget problem was caused by Labor recklessness and it was Defence which then copped $5B reduction in 2012 to try and fix it.
    Time other departments took the reduction – or those who believe government owes them a living.

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    To Andrew
    Who said anything about “Defence bureaucrats”, I just said “Defence”. And where are you getting the number 16 from?

    To Steve
    Really? Is that what really happened? Lets just leave politics right out of these forums ok.

  • Chris Grealy

    says:

    @Steve, so the “Budget Emergency” wasn’t caused by the GFC which affected every other country in the world; It was caused by Labor spending too much. Or spending too little, depending on which Liberal is talking at you. Or both simultaneously. Meanwhile since the Noalition came to power, the Buget Emergency ceased magically. Spending has increased, and so has the deficit, and unemployment. Sounds like the perfect economic climate to run up some extra debt!
    It’s good to see you have absorbed the Coalition’s mixed messages so well, but I’d prefer that they started talking sense 🙂

  • jOHN

    says:

    Australia should purchase

    RAN
    10 x Soryu class subs
    6-8 x OPV to replace the useless patrol boats

    RAAF

    purchase addition two C-17s to Make total of 10.
    16-20 F-35 Bs for LHDs
    Additional 2-3 P-8s

    Army

    4-6 more Tiger helicopters
    Update M1A1 abrams with A3 upgrade once out and purchase an addition 20-30 tanks
    30 x Paladin SPGs M109A7
    New Air defence system to replace the very low level AD – Possibly patriot and and upgrade to the current system to complement it.

  • Charlie

    says:

    John – pretty good wish list, however how about we toss out the tigers altogether and get the longbow like they should have in the first place, would have been operational years ago and supporting the chooks and chicken strangers aboard them! Maybe something from Austral to go along side the OPV, but out of respect the sailors on the board the Armidales I could hardly call their boats useless.

  • Blake

    says:

    I think the F-35 is a waste of tax payers dollars for all involved. I think it would be great to receive a small number of them and instead by Eurofighters or Rafale. This aircraft have much better capabilities and would be available a lot quicker then the F-35. The F-35 has a low range and a low ordinance capability. I think the extra C-17 will be great along with extra KC-30

  • Blake

    says:

    I also agree john and the army aviation. I think Army should have bought 20 MRH 90 and could have bought 40 UH 60s. You can also buy 2 CH-47 for the price of 3 UH-60 and that would have been a better investment then MRH 90 and they would have bought some more Tigers too

Leave a Comment to David Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Two extra C-17s confirmed, two further aircraft under consideration

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 3, 2014
Australia is looking to acquire two additional C-17s. (Defence)
Australia is looking to acquire at least two additional C-17s. (Defence)

UDPATED –  The RAAF could operate a total fleet of up to 10 Boeing C-17A Globemasters after Defence Minister Senator David Johnston announced on Friday that Australia is to acquire at least two additional C-17s and is considering the acquisition of a further two examples of the heavylift transport.

Six C-17s are already in service with the RAAF’s 36 Squadron, based at Amberley west of Brisbane.

“Should the government elect to exercise this option, the two extra Globemasters would significantly enhance the Royal Australian Air Force’s capacity for operational tasks, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in our region and around the world,” Minister Johnston said in a statement.

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Further, the Minister said that the government has requested pricing and availability data through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program for a further two C-17s, which would take the total RAAF fleet to 10. Decisions regarding the acquisition of the ninth and tenth aircraft are being informed by the Force Structure Review being developed as part of the 2015 Defence White Paper process, he said in a statement on Friday.

“Since the first delivery in 2006, we have seen the C-17A Globemaster perform exceptionally well at the forefront of Australia’s military operations and humanitarian work. Recent global events have seen Australia’s national capabilities like the C-17A come to the fore to assist our friends and allies.”

The additional C-17s would integrate seamlessly into the existing fleet based at RAAF Base Amberley, the Defence Minister added.

The Minister first revealed the government was considering extra C-17s in an August interview with News Limited, where he called the acquisition a “no-brainer“.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The opportunity to acquire additional C-17s is limited. Boeing is currently building its 269th and last C-17 at its Long Beach, California plant, with production due to wind up next year. However, the company is building 15 “white tail” aircraft without a customer to date. India (which already has 10 on order) is reportedly interested in a numbr of these, and Boeing remains in ongoing discussions with other existing C-17 operators and potential new customers regarding the remaining aircraft.

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.

Steer your own in-flight experience – available on print and digital Whether our classic glossy magazine in your letterbox, daily news updates in your inbox, peeling back a few layers in the podcast or our monthly current affair reports, you can count on us to keep you up to date. Sign up today for just $99.95 for more exclusive offers here. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

27 Comments

  • stuart

    says:

    fingers crossed a great asset

  • Raymond

    says:

    It is interesting (assuming these two extra aircraft are ordered) that the RAAF’s C-17 fleet will have doubled from the original ‘up to four’ ordered by the Howard government as an additional investment.

    A similar thing is occurring with the Super Hornets – an additional 12 (Growlers) have been ordered, from the Howard government’s original ‘one-off’ investment of $6 billion over 10 years for a fleet of 24 aircraft.

    This is exceptional, considering that there are now also 72 F-35 JSF’s approved as well, together with other new capabilities (e.g. E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C) and the fact that almost every airborne asset has been recently replaced or soon will be. Great times for the RAAF.

  • Andrew

    says:

    Fantastic news. You can never have enough of these superb airlift aircraft. Over the next decade the RAAF will be transformed into a truly powerful force by world standards. Very timely considering the increasingly erratic and militarily expansionist behaviour of Communist China. I believe the RAAF will be acquiring at least 2 additional KC-30A MRRT aircraft and the Navy acquisition of 16 F-35B aircraft to operate from the LHDs is a done deal. Hopefully the Navy acquisition will not stop the RAAF acquiring the planned final 28 F-35A aircraft in addition to the 72 already approved. Hopefully this final tranche of 28 will not replace the 24 Super Hornets with 1 Squadron as these aircraft will still be providing superb capabilities in 2030 with upgrades outlined in the Advanced Super Hornet proposal.

  • Gary

    says:

    Guys, I think if you re-read the announcement, the two C-17s are a done deal with a further two under consideration subject to the Force Structure Review.

  • Peter

    says:

    Perhaps if all 4 are confirmed, it may be possible to have these 4 based at Richmond, as a separate Flight, but still under the 36 Sqn banner. With the 10 Spartans to now be based at Amberley, it would make sense to spread the capabilities, and justify some expenditure to upgrade Richmond facilities. Perhaps another Sim to be based at Richmond also.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Andrew – I believe it to be unlikely that 16 F-35B’s will be acquired as well as another 28 F-35A’s. I think it much more likely that any B models will come at the expense of A models, especially considering that the ‘B’ is considerably more expensive than the ‘A’. Furthermore, the intent of the final batch of up to 28 F-35’s was to replace the 24 Super Hornets circa 2030. As nice as it would be, to think that the RAAF will end up fielding 100 F-35A’s, 16 F-35B’s, 24 F/A-18F’s and 12 EA-18G’s all concurrently (over 150 fighter / strike airframes) is somewhat ambitious and fanciful! Also, any incorporation of Advanced Super Hornet features into the RAAF fleet would be subject to US decisions and funding, as commonality between USN and RAAF fleets is essentially a pre-requisite.

    Gary – the article has been updated. The original version only stated that Australia was looking to acquire an additional two C-17’s.

    Wow, it’s grown from ‘an extra one or two’ only about 6 weeks ago to an extra four! So the RAAF will end up with at least the same number of C-17’s if not more in comparison with the RAF with their 8! I would be very interested to know what plans are in place for RAAF Amberley as far as hardstands for all these additional aircraft are concerned, if not hangars to protect them from the elements. Note that there are now another 28 or so aircraft on the way for Amberley: 12 Growlers, up to four C-17’s, at least two KC-30’s, as well as the 10 C-27J’s.

    Is Boeing conducting an auction for the remaining ‘white-tails’?! There must be a bit of a scramble for the rest if we’re taking four now – or else the RAAF has had an unofficial ‘reserved’ sign on these for a while… I hazard a guess that India is dragging its feet on its reported additional six airframes (as most Indian defence procurements are a long-winded, drawn-out process).

  • Steve

    says:

    As was said about the announced C-27J basing at Amberley – that base is getting crowded!

  • Mark

    says:

    Please clarify/confirm Andrew/Editor – (1) the 12 Growlers are the second 12 of the original 24 Super Hornets, which unlike the first 12, have additional wiring to enable then to be transformed from an F model to a G model? ie there is not a further 12 in addition to the original 24 is there?, and (2) How advanced is the order for 16 F-35B aircraft that you mentioned above Andrew – under formal RAAF or Ministerial consideration / order contract signed?

  • Grant McHerron

    says:

    Does Amberley have enough tarmac for all these C17s and all the KC30As when the test/eval aircraft return to Oz?

    Guess we’ll see a number of them on deployment at any one time 🙂

  • Dan

    says:

    Fantastic effort, really shows a lot of forward thinking by this Government. With 8 and possibly 10 C-17’s on the books it really will give the RAAF some serious long term lift capability. You don’t have to look too far back in our history to recall our embarrassing lack of strategic lift capability i.e. East Timor and the early days of Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. We are stepping up to the plate! Great days for the ADF.

  • Chris Grealy

    says:

    So that will be, let’s see….close enough to $1billion USD. Good thing there’s no “Budget Emergency” since the Noalition came to power.

  • adammudhen

    says:

    @Andrew, not sure where you get the Navy acquiring 16 F-35Bs is a “done deal”. If (and that “if” is quite a way off still) any B model F-35s are to purchased, I fully expect them to be operated by the RAAF (albeit with considerable naval cooperation). I highly doubt we’ll see the FAA stand up a fast-jet force given that by then they won’t have had the capability for over 40 years. Simply “plugging in” another RAAF squadron (or Flight) would be much more straight forward.

    Any F-35Bs would be purchased to provide a short term, limited ship-borne (or even FOB) capability. They aren’t intended to provide a genuine carrier force.

  • Andy

    says:

    What is there to consider ? C-17 cheaper by the dozen and give RAAF ability it realy needs.
    And willl give us more abilty to help RNZAF out, keys Government has pruned the RNZAF too much

  • australianaviation.com.au

    says:

    Mark

    The 12 Growlers are in addition to the 24 Super Hornets. The 12 jets that were pre-configured for Growler will not be modified at this stage.

    It was another ‘Andrew’ who claimed the F-35Bs is a done deal – believe me when I say it isn’t, and that Defence is advising against buying F-35Bs despite the PM and MINDEF being very interested in getting them.

    Phase 2C will likely be additional F-35As to replace the Rhinos in ~2028-30.

    Cheers

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • australianaviation.com.au

    says:

    Grant

    AMB has eight parking spots on the northern ramp plus the hangar, and can overflow to the old air movements ramp south of the Super Hornet carports if necessary. A second hangar is planned, but there has been no info about whether the ramp will be expanded.

    Some of the older hangars near the tower will likely be redeveloped so they may end up accommodating 35SQN.

    Cheers

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • Gordy

    says:

    Its all neato,..But the Flood mitigation issue per last 2011 Floods will require a lot of thinking and perhaps moving around other infrastructure if raising the hard standing and taxying tarmac levels in the north. There’s always the North West Area I guess. The old Air Movements tarmac is an answer, but perhaps for 35 Sqn’s new C-27Js. Anyway, they’ll sort that out.

    With at least 8 C-17As, we will have depth and attrition(God forbid) to maintain the capacity for decades to come, even if only 6 are used at any one time, in store rotation, to reduced accumulation of hours/Wear.

    Given the Army’s Land 400 future buy, the days of a C-130 delivering a 12.5 ton M113 from the back (Dili 1999)are over. Some of these new CRV/IFV etc will be between 27 to 35 tonnes in weight,..so it makes sense to increase the Squadron number on this basis alone. When carrying single Armour items, the numbers do matter.

    As for the future,…I’d say the 12 prewired F/A-18F Plus will be used as attrition (or in augmenting an increased 16 E/A-18G aircraft Sqn, with rotating airframes) or inclusive in a separate training flight when the last F-35A batch is ordered. The first twelve will be consumed as parts or sold back to USN I guess.

    Anyway, its a an interesting time, with a Government who actually stands by the ADF. Now if they can get those 182 Auto Grenade Systems and importantly get those 18 SP 155mm back on the ordering list for the Army 🙂

  • David

    says:

    With this Government you can guarantee they will act wisely and acquire more examples of the C17

  • B. Harrison

    says:

    All I wanted for Xmas was 4 more C-17’s (which it looks like I’ve got) 3-5 more KC-30’s (including VIP) and some F-35B’s for the navy (16-20). Them my Xmas list is complete.

  • Andrew

    says:

    To Andrew McLaughlin,
    In a battle between Defence Dept bureaucrats and the PM and MinDef over the F-35B for Navy who do you think will win? My money is on the PM and MINDEF for 16 F-35Bs. Time will tell, but ADF is going to grow a whole lot larger over the next 10-15 years and possess capabilities we thought were not budgetary possibilities today. The growing military instability in the international environment has thrown open the doors to purchasing equipment we thought we couldn’t afford but necessity/fear does tend to focus the mind.

  • Steve

    says:

    @Cris Grearly. Budget problem was caused by Labor recklessness and it was Defence which then copped $5B reduction in 2012 to try and fix it.
    Time other departments took the reduction – or those who believe government owes them a living.

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    To Andrew
    Who said anything about “Defence bureaucrats”, I just said “Defence”. And where are you getting the number 16 from?

    To Steve
    Really? Is that what really happened? Lets just leave politics right out of these forums ok.

  • Chris Grealy

    says:

    @Steve, so the “Budget Emergency” wasn’t caused by the GFC which affected every other country in the world; It was caused by Labor spending too much. Or spending too little, depending on which Liberal is talking at you. Or both simultaneously. Meanwhile since the Noalition came to power, the Buget Emergency ceased magically. Spending has increased, and so has the deficit, and unemployment. Sounds like the perfect economic climate to run up some extra debt!
    It’s good to see you have absorbed the Coalition’s mixed messages so well, but I’d prefer that they started talking sense 🙂

  • jOHN

    says:

    Australia should purchase

    RAN
    10 x Soryu class subs
    6-8 x OPV to replace the useless patrol boats

    RAAF

    purchase addition two C-17s to Make total of 10.
    16-20 F-35 Bs for LHDs
    Additional 2-3 P-8s

    Army

    4-6 more Tiger helicopters
    Update M1A1 abrams with A3 upgrade once out and purchase an addition 20-30 tanks
    30 x Paladin SPGs M109A7
    New Air defence system to replace the very low level AD – Possibly patriot and and upgrade to the current system to complement it.

  • Charlie

    says:

    John – pretty good wish list, however how about we toss out the tigers altogether and get the longbow like they should have in the first place, would have been operational years ago and supporting the chooks and chicken strangers aboard them! Maybe something from Austral to go along side the OPV, but out of respect the sailors on the board the Armidales I could hardly call their boats useless.

  • Blake

    says:

    I think the F-35 is a waste of tax payers dollars for all involved. I think it would be great to receive a small number of them and instead by Eurofighters or Rafale. This aircraft have much better capabilities and would be available a lot quicker then the F-35. The F-35 has a low range and a low ordinance capability. I think the extra C-17 will be great along with extra KC-30

  • Blake

    says:

    I also agree john and the army aviation. I think Army should have bought 20 MRH 90 and could have bought 40 UH 60s. You can also buy 2 CH-47 for the price of 3 UH-60 and that would have been a better investment then MRH 90 and they would have bought some more Tigers too

Leave a Comment to David Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Two extra C-17s confirmed, two further aircraft under consideration

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 3, 2014
Australia is looking to acquire two additional C-17s. (Defence)
Australia is looking to acquire at least two additional C-17s. (Defence)

UDPATED –  The RAAF could operate a total fleet of up to 10 Boeing C-17A Globemasters after Defence Minister Senator David Johnston announced on Friday that Australia is to acquire at least two additional C-17s and is considering the acquisition of a further two examples of the heavylift transport.

Six C-17s are already in service with the RAAF’s 36 Squadron, based at Amberley west of Brisbane.

“Should the government elect to exercise this option, the two extra Globemasters would significantly enhance the Royal Australian Air Force’s capacity for operational tasks, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in our region and around the world,” Minister Johnston said in a statement.

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Further, the Minister said that the government has requested pricing and availability data through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program for a further two C-17s, which would take the total RAAF fleet to 10. Decisions regarding the acquisition of the ninth and tenth aircraft are being informed by the Force Structure Review being developed as part of the 2015 Defence White Paper process, he said in a statement on Friday.

“Since the first delivery in 2006, we have seen the C-17A Globemaster perform exceptionally well at the forefront of Australia’s military operations and humanitarian work. Recent global events have seen Australia’s national capabilities like the C-17A come to the fore to assist our friends and allies.”

The additional C-17s would integrate seamlessly into the existing fleet based at RAAF Base Amberley, the Defence Minister added.

The Minister first revealed the government was considering extra C-17s in an August interview with News Limited, where he called the acquisition a “no-brainer“.

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The opportunity to acquire additional C-17s is limited. Boeing is currently building its 269th and last C-17 at its Long Beach, California plant, with production due to wind up next year. However, the company is building 15 “white tail” aircraft without a customer to date. India (which already has 10 on order) is reportedly interested in a numbr of these, and Boeing remains in ongoing discussions with other existing C-17 operators and potential new customers regarding the remaining aircraft.

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.

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27 Comments

  • stuart

    says:

    fingers crossed a great asset

  • Raymond

    says:

    It is interesting (assuming these two extra aircraft are ordered) that the RAAF’s C-17 fleet will have doubled from the original ‘up to four’ ordered by the Howard government as an additional investment.

    A similar thing is occurring with the Super Hornets – an additional 12 (Growlers) have been ordered, from the Howard government’s original ‘one-off’ investment of $6 billion over 10 years for a fleet of 24 aircraft.

    This is exceptional, considering that there are now also 72 F-35 JSF’s approved as well, together with other new capabilities (e.g. E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C) and the fact that almost every airborne asset has been recently replaced or soon will be. Great times for the RAAF.

  • Andrew

    says:

    Fantastic news. You can never have enough of these superb airlift aircraft. Over the next decade the RAAF will be transformed into a truly powerful force by world standards. Very timely considering the increasingly erratic and militarily expansionist behaviour of Communist China. I believe the RAAF will be acquiring at least 2 additional KC-30A MRRT aircraft and the Navy acquisition of 16 F-35B aircraft to operate from the LHDs is a done deal. Hopefully the Navy acquisition will not stop the RAAF acquiring the planned final 28 F-35A aircraft in addition to the 72 already approved. Hopefully this final tranche of 28 will not replace the 24 Super Hornets with 1 Squadron as these aircraft will still be providing superb capabilities in 2030 with upgrades outlined in the Advanced Super Hornet proposal.

  • Gary

    says:

    Guys, I think if you re-read the announcement, the two C-17s are a done deal with a further two under consideration subject to the Force Structure Review.

  • Peter

    says:

    Perhaps if all 4 are confirmed, it may be possible to have these 4 based at Richmond, as a separate Flight, but still under the 36 Sqn banner. With the 10 Spartans to now be based at Amberley, it would make sense to spread the capabilities, and justify some expenditure to upgrade Richmond facilities. Perhaps another Sim to be based at Richmond also.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Andrew – I believe it to be unlikely that 16 F-35B’s will be acquired as well as another 28 F-35A’s. I think it much more likely that any B models will come at the expense of A models, especially considering that the ‘B’ is considerably more expensive than the ‘A’. Furthermore, the intent of the final batch of up to 28 F-35’s was to replace the 24 Super Hornets circa 2030. As nice as it would be, to think that the RAAF will end up fielding 100 F-35A’s, 16 F-35B’s, 24 F/A-18F’s and 12 EA-18G’s all concurrently (over 150 fighter / strike airframes) is somewhat ambitious and fanciful! Also, any incorporation of Advanced Super Hornet features into the RAAF fleet would be subject to US decisions and funding, as commonality between USN and RAAF fleets is essentially a pre-requisite.

    Gary – the article has been updated. The original version only stated that Australia was looking to acquire an additional two C-17’s.

    Wow, it’s grown from ‘an extra one or two’ only about 6 weeks ago to an extra four! So the RAAF will end up with at least the same number of C-17’s if not more in comparison with the RAF with their 8! I would be very interested to know what plans are in place for RAAF Amberley as far as hardstands for all these additional aircraft are concerned, if not hangars to protect them from the elements. Note that there are now another 28 or so aircraft on the way for Amberley: 12 Growlers, up to four C-17’s, at least two KC-30’s, as well as the 10 C-27J’s.

    Is Boeing conducting an auction for the remaining ‘white-tails’?! There must be a bit of a scramble for the rest if we’re taking four now – or else the RAAF has had an unofficial ‘reserved’ sign on these for a while… I hazard a guess that India is dragging its feet on its reported additional six airframes (as most Indian defence procurements are a long-winded, drawn-out process).

  • Steve

    says:

    As was said about the announced C-27J basing at Amberley – that base is getting crowded!

  • Mark

    says:

    Please clarify/confirm Andrew/Editor – (1) the 12 Growlers are the second 12 of the original 24 Super Hornets, which unlike the first 12, have additional wiring to enable then to be transformed from an F model to a G model? ie there is not a further 12 in addition to the original 24 is there?, and (2) How advanced is the order for 16 F-35B aircraft that you mentioned above Andrew – under formal RAAF or Ministerial consideration / order contract signed?

  • Grant McHerron

    says:

    Does Amberley have enough tarmac for all these C17s and all the KC30As when the test/eval aircraft return to Oz?

    Guess we’ll see a number of them on deployment at any one time 🙂

  • Dan

    says:

    Fantastic effort, really shows a lot of forward thinking by this Government. With 8 and possibly 10 C-17’s on the books it really will give the RAAF some serious long term lift capability. You don’t have to look too far back in our history to recall our embarrassing lack of strategic lift capability i.e. East Timor and the early days of Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. We are stepping up to the plate! Great days for the ADF.

  • Chris Grealy

    says:

    So that will be, let’s see….close enough to $1billion USD. Good thing there’s no “Budget Emergency” since the Noalition came to power.

  • adammudhen

    says:

    @Andrew, not sure where you get the Navy acquiring 16 F-35Bs is a “done deal”. If (and that “if” is quite a way off still) any B model F-35s are to purchased, I fully expect them to be operated by the RAAF (albeit with considerable naval cooperation). I highly doubt we’ll see the FAA stand up a fast-jet force given that by then they won’t have had the capability for over 40 years. Simply “plugging in” another RAAF squadron (or Flight) would be much more straight forward.

    Any F-35Bs would be purchased to provide a short term, limited ship-borne (or even FOB) capability. They aren’t intended to provide a genuine carrier force.

  • Andy

    says:

    What is there to consider ? C-17 cheaper by the dozen and give RAAF ability it realy needs.
    And willl give us more abilty to help RNZAF out, keys Government has pruned the RNZAF too much

  • australianaviation.com.au

    says:

    Mark

    The 12 Growlers are in addition to the 24 Super Hornets. The 12 jets that were pre-configured for Growler will not be modified at this stage.

    It was another ‘Andrew’ who claimed the F-35Bs is a done deal – believe me when I say it isn’t, and that Defence is advising against buying F-35Bs despite the PM and MINDEF being very interested in getting them.

    Phase 2C will likely be additional F-35As to replace the Rhinos in ~2028-30.

    Cheers

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • australianaviation.com.au

    says:

    Grant

    AMB has eight parking spots on the northern ramp plus the hangar, and can overflow to the old air movements ramp south of the Super Hornet carports if necessary. A second hangar is planned, but there has been no info about whether the ramp will be expanded.

    Some of the older hangars near the tower will likely be redeveloped so they may end up accommodating 35SQN.

    Cheers

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • Gordy

    says:

    Its all neato,..But the Flood mitigation issue per last 2011 Floods will require a lot of thinking and perhaps moving around other infrastructure if raising the hard standing and taxying tarmac levels in the north. There’s always the North West Area I guess. The old Air Movements tarmac is an answer, but perhaps for 35 Sqn’s new C-27Js. Anyway, they’ll sort that out.

    With at least 8 C-17As, we will have depth and attrition(God forbid) to maintain the capacity for decades to come, even if only 6 are used at any one time, in store rotation, to reduced accumulation of hours/Wear.

    Given the Army’s Land 400 future buy, the days of a C-130 delivering a 12.5 ton M113 from the back (Dili 1999)are over. Some of these new CRV/IFV etc will be between 27 to 35 tonnes in weight,..so it makes sense to increase the Squadron number on this basis alone. When carrying single Armour items, the numbers do matter.

    As for the future,…I’d say the 12 prewired F/A-18F Plus will be used as attrition (or in augmenting an increased 16 E/A-18G aircraft Sqn, with rotating airframes) or inclusive in a separate training flight when the last F-35A batch is ordered. The first twelve will be consumed as parts or sold back to USN I guess.

    Anyway, its a an interesting time, with a Government who actually stands by the ADF. Now if they can get those 182 Auto Grenade Systems and importantly get those 18 SP 155mm back on the ordering list for the Army 🙂

  • David

    says:

    With this Government you can guarantee they will act wisely and acquire more examples of the C17

  • B. Harrison

    says:

    All I wanted for Xmas was 4 more C-17’s (which it looks like I’ve got) 3-5 more KC-30’s (including VIP) and some F-35B’s for the navy (16-20). Them my Xmas list is complete.

  • Andrew

    says:

    To Andrew McLaughlin,
    In a battle between Defence Dept bureaucrats and the PM and MinDef over the F-35B for Navy who do you think will win? My money is on the PM and MINDEF for 16 F-35Bs. Time will tell, but ADF is going to grow a whole lot larger over the next 10-15 years and possess capabilities we thought were not budgetary possibilities today. The growing military instability in the international environment has thrown open the doors to purchasing equipment we thought we couldn’t afford but necessity/fear does tend to focus the mind.

  • Steve

    says:

    @Cris Grearly. Budget problem was caused by Labor recklessness and it was Defence which then copped $5B reduction in 2012 to try and fix it.
    Time other departments took the reduction – or those who believe government owes them a living.

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    To Andrew
    Who said anything about “Defence bureaucrats”, I just said “Defence”. And where are you getting the number 16 from?

    To Steve
    Really? Is that what really happened? Lets just leave politics right out of these forums ok.

  • Chris Grealy

    says:

    @Steve, so the “Budget Emergency” wasn’t caused by the GFC which affected every other country in the world; It was caused by Labor spending too much. Or spending too little, depending on which Liberal is talking at you. Or both simultaneously. Meanwhile since the Noalition came to power, the Buget Emergency ceased magically. Spending has increased, and so has the deficit, and unemployment. Sounds like the perfect economic climate to run up some extra debt!
    It’s good to see you have absorbed the Coalition’s mixed messages so well, but I’d prefer that they started talking sense 🙂

  • jOHN

    says:

    Australia should purchase

    RAN
    10 x Soryu class subs
    6-8 x OPV to replace the useless patrol boats

    RAAF

    purchase addition two C-17s to Make total of 10.
    16-20 F-35 Bs for LHDs
    Additional 2-3 P-8s

    Army

    4-6 more Tiger helicopters
    Update M1A1 abrams with A3 upgrade once out and purchase an addition 20-30 tanks
    30 x Paladin SPGs M109A7
    New Air defence system to replace the very low level AD – Possibly patriot and and upgrade to the current system to complement it.

  • Charlie

    says:

    John – pretty good wish list, however how about we toss out the tigers altogether and get the longbow like they should have in the first place, would have been operational years ago and supporting the chooks and chicken strangers aboard them! Maybe something from Austral to go along side the OPV, but out of respect the sailors on the board the Armidales I could hardly call their boats useless.

  • Blake

    says:

    I think the F-35 is a waste of tax payers dollars for all involved. I think it would be great to receive a small number of them and instead by Eurofighters or Rafale. This aircraft have much better capabilities and would be available a lot quicker then the F-35. The F-35 has a low range and a low ordinance capability. I think the extra C-17 will be great along with extra KC-30

  • Blake

    says:

    I also agree john and the army aviation. I think Army should have bought 20 MRH 90 and could have bought 40 UH 60s. You can also buy 2 CH-47 for the price of 3 UH-60 and that would have been a better investment then MRH 90 and they would have bought some more Tigers too

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