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Formal request made for extra RAAF C-17s

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 13, 2014
A Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft unloads its cargo of ammunition at Erbil International Airport, Iraq. (Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft unloads its cargo of ammunition at Erbil International Airport, Iraq. (Defence)

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.

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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.

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9 Comments

  • Reach

    says:

    Great news for the RAAF, C-17 one of the worlds best transport aircraft

  • TimC69

    says:

    reduce the C130J fleet to 10 and increase the KC 30 fleet to 10, then we’ll have ten of each type in the transport fleet. Also with the KC 30’s have one aircraft in 34 squadron colours with 3 drogue as opposed to having a boom.

  • Michael

    says:

    Tim as far as I’m aware the RAAF is not optioning the F35As with a probe and drogue receptacle so they can only be refuelled by boom. That leaves the Super hornets and Growlers as the only aircraft that are probe and drogue once the Classic Hornets going out of retirement in 8 years. Super Hornets retire around 2030 not sure about the 12 Growlers. I’d think the RAAF will likely fit a boom.

  • Robert

    says:

    Ahhh, with only one oil refinery left by the end of 2015 what are these things going to use for fuel if the is a hitch in the supply chain

  • Michael

    says:

    I should learn to proof read before I hit post. Hahaha

    Robert are you referring to refineries and QLD, the East Coast or the whole country? As far as I’m aware BP Kwinina refinery in WA is going to be alive and kicking for the foreseeable future. I Couldn’t imagine all the ones on the East Coast will shut down by 2015.

  • TimC69

    says:

    Michael,

    i was thinking of just one configured the same as the RAF tankers for aesthetics sake. A boom isn’t appealing .

  • Darren

    says:

    You can never have too much airlift. Get all four. This opportunity is going, going, gone soon.

  • Ian

    says:

    The original acquisition and this proposal to buy more is a VERY smart move by Defence / RAAF. The structure of the aircraft, its systems that allow upgrading and the airframes ability to comfortably accommodate future growith from configuration enhancements all mean that today’s pilots grand kids could be one day flying this aircraft in RAAF service. From a longevity perspective – our answer to the B52.

  • Mark

    says:

    The C17 was one of the smartest purchases the ADF has ever made. Great to see we’re increasing the numbers. It’s a pity we don’t do more non-competitive direct off-the-shelf purchases – the best way of making sure the ADF gets what it really wants, not what DMO and the political party of the day ‘thinks’ the ADF wants.

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