New RAAF C-17 seen at Long Beach

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 31, 2015
C-17 RAAF A41-213 LONGBEACH 22.05.2015 STEVE ALLSOPP
An RAAF C-17 A41-213 at Longbeach on May 22 2015. (Steve Allsopp)

One of two additional C-17 Globemasters for the RAAF has been seen on the ramp outside Boeing’s Long Beach plant.

This image by Australian Aviation photo contributor Steve Allsopp taken on May 22 shows the aircraft wearing the RAAF serial A41-213, suggesting it is the second of the two new airlifters due for delivery later this year – the existing six RAAF C-17s are serialled A41-206 through to A41-211.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed the acquistion of the two additional C-17s, taking the RAAF fleet to eight, in April this year. At that time the seventh C-17 was to be delivered in July/August with the eighth following by the end of the year.

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C-17 RAAF A41-213 LONGBEACH 22.05.2015 STEVE ALLSOPP nose
The nose of an RAAF C-17 A41-213 at Longbeach on May 22 2015. (Steve Allsopp)

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26 Comments

  • Michael

    says:

    This excites me. I never tire of seeing a those behemoths pull off maneuvers generally suited to an aircraft a fraction of its size.

  • Tom

    says:

    The extra 17’s will be a fantastic asset for not only our country but the region as well , our RAAF airlift capability is looking pretty damn good

  • Scott R

    says:

    I would love to see the NZ government acquire two of these aircraft for our Air a force. Such a strategic asset for use in and around the Pacific Islands and Asia.

  • Craigy

    says:

    A good article in May’s AA as to why the C17 is not a realistic option for NZ given the budget available and also the need for smaller transporters.

  • TimC69

    says:

    Lets make it 10 C17’s and 10 KC30’s.add another couple of C27’s to match the C130J fleet .

  • Derrick

    says:

    Now to buy the last remaining two C-17 and brings the total to 10. And add another 5 KC-30

  • Tropicalcat

    says:

    Let’s hope the F35’s turn out as well…….

  • Alex

    says:

    We still need two more at least

    It would make common sense to pool booth RAAF and RNZAF at one base
    reduce the over heads for both countries, maintenance and infrastructure that is required for these
    beautiful aircraft and functional aircraft flying

    Two for RNZAF is not enough !

    NZ Government’s not that short of money; although they are misleading kiwis, and have been doing so for years.

    A combined Air Force for both Countries, makes more sense

    I agree with Michaels comment’s

  • adammudhen

    says:

    While the idea of a combined RAAF/RNZAF C-17 squadron may seem like a good idea (although I have my doubts), I cannot see NZ willing to ‘give up’ their airlift independence, which is how they would see it politically.

    A stand-alone unit of just 2 C-17s, at the expense of the rest of their airlift fleet, makes even less sense than combined operations with 36 squadron.

    I think 3 or 4 A400Ms and 4 to 6 C295s which could be augmented at a later date to replace (at least some of) the P-3 fleet would be a sensible decision.

    Only time will tell.

  • Bill

    says:

    The C-17 is too much aircraft for NZ, IMHO the A400 is most likely the “Goldilocks” aircraft for the Kiwis. And as suggested supplement the bottom end tactical airlift with C295’s perhaps with a palletised maritime mission system package as a potential P-3 replacement.

  • Andrew M

    says:

    NZ needs C-17 to replace 757’s in strategic airlift. It has the largest potential payload and fastest transit speed, especially in aid situations or transporting NH90 to Pacific Islands. The C-130’s can continue strategic airlift as it has done for last 50 years and then be replaced by new build Hercs when their time is expired. A400M’s too big and expensive when we don’t need strategic value and C295 too small to be meaningful in tactical.

  • Mike P

    says:

    With the “whitetails” running out lets hope that the ‘wheeling and dealing for #9 and #10 is well underway!

  • Peter

    says:

    Hopefully the pending White Paper will identify and release long overdue funds specifically for Sustainment. New / extra aircraft are fine, however existing facilities ie RAAF bases – have had little to no direct funding for years. Many are entirely outdated with basic operational functions suffering daily. A tour behind the scenes at Richmond, Pearce, and even Williamtown would surprise many. If the ADF can’t identify and resource a better standard of on-base accommodation and messing ( to mention just 2 areas), what’s the point of additional aircraft as the RAAF will continue to have issues with retaining crew to fly and support them.

  • Gary

    says:

    Peter,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly; however, the recently commissioned JSF infrastructure works at WLM so go a long way to remedy this for that base. Richmond unfortunately will always be the unwanted facility. I would have no doubt that Richmond does not figure in long term Air Force plans.

  • Allan

    says:

    Would have to agree with you Gary, It seems like the developers will get their hands on Richmond sooner rather than later. Notwithstanding the governments statement of retaining a secure base in the Sydney area to launch and receive military aircraft, Otherwise, why stand up the C27 squadron at Richmond only to move it to an overcrowded Amberley when there is ample space at Richmond as well as commonality with the J hercs in systems and engines. As for being closer to the Army in Townsville that just seems to be a bit of a furfy as the hercs also support the army in all its forms not forgetting the Parachute school at Nowra. So to support the para school they would have to deploy from Amberely , And lets not forget the special ops guys in WA. It just seems that Richmond will eventually go like it or not.

  • David

    says:

    What an earth does the RAAF do with 8 C17’s? We don’t appear to have enough military needs or relief work to warrant this number. One sees them parked on the tarmac most of the time. It would be nice to see the Federal Government discuss defence expenditure for a change!

  • Gary

    says:

    David, 8 x C17 are just enough at this stage of the game. Whilst you may see multiple C17s on the Tarmac at Amberley, they do have to park in between sorties you know. If you imagine current tasking would see a minimum of 2 x C17 supporting the Middle East, one undergoing deeper maintenance in the US, with the remainder supporting the ADF regionally as well as locally. Do not forget that the C17s are also picking up local tasking from that previously undertaken by both the C130H and now the J. As for Defence spending, yes indeed let us look at Defence spending – the Government is still refunding the ADF from the previous Government’s use of Defence as an ATM!

  • Corey

    says:

    I really hope the Australian Government, DOD and the RAAF will buy an additional 2-4 C-17s for a total fleet of 10-12 of new (bought new form the factory) aircraft and also look at buying low hour C-17s from the USAF as the RAAF will need the aircraft in the future as there is currently no aircraft being produced that meets or exceeds the capabilities of the C-17. Also there is the option of replacing the C-130Js with A400Ms as the aircraft will mature and will be fully operational in the next few and the reason of the recent crash identified and rectified. If the RAAF bought an additional 2 C-27J Spartons. I’d also like to see the RAAF buy more KC-30s about 19-31 (total fleet of 24-36) but have them set up with the reinforced floor, large cargo door and landing gear from the A330F but use the A330-200 passenger airframe to allow the aircraft to be converted form a passenger transport aircraft to a cargo aircraft along with the RAAF operating Boeing 747-8Fs which can transport large non oversized cargo loads more efficiently and cost less to operate compared to the C-17s etc. The RAAF should replace the current BBJ1 (737-700NG) with 1-2 747-8Is as they can fly almost anywhere in the world without refuelling with 100 passengers and crew on board and would only cost a typical VIP 747-8 $15,000 per hour also Boeing would give the RAAF unbelievable prices on the 747-8 as they’re struggling to sell them possibly cheaper than a ACJ330. If anyone agrees, disagrees and has slightly different views I’d like to receive your feed back especially form pilots and defence personnel.

  • John N

    says:

    Corey,

    At least you seem to be cutting back on the Red cordial (or watering it down and not drinking it straight as I suggested!), in a previous C-17 article you were advocating 24-48 C-17’s, 24-60 A-400’s and 24-36 KC-30’s!!!

    Anyway, back to reality……

    Two to four extra new C-17’s? Yes the possibility still exist for the fleet to grow to 10 new airframes, just have to wait a couple of months for the new Defence White Paper to confirm either way on that one, I seriously can’t see that apart from the extra two currently on order that of the remaining five white tails that we would (or could afford) to grow to a fleet of 12, don’t forget that it’s not just the purchase price and availability, but basing, infrastructure and additional crewing that would be required too, cost a lot of dollars!!.

    Purchasing second hand USAF C-17’s? For a start there are no second hand USAF C-17’s available, and I can’t imagine that the USAF (the US Government and Congress too) would be making them available for purchase by a Foreign Government anytime soon, yes there may be an arrangement for possible ‘attrition’ replacements to be made available from USAF stocks to selected countries, such as Australia (as was the case with the F-111), but lets hope that never happens!!

    As to your point that (once the C-17 production line is finished) there are no C-17 ‘equivalents’ being produced or available, that is true for the moment, but you also have realise that the USAF will eventually need a replacement for the C-17’s and probably somewhere in the next, say 15 years or so, the USAF will produce a requirement for an eventual replacement and most likely both Boeing and LM will produce designs for that competition, and what every eventually replaces the C-17 in USAF service will probably also replace the C-17 in RAAF service too, but that is still quite a long way off yet.

    Replacing C-130J with A-400M? Yes no doubt when the J’s require replacement in around 15 years the A-400M (if still in production) would be a possible candidate, but again somewhere into the future the USAF will also be looking to replace their C-130J’s too and again most likely both LM and Boeing will also come up with designs (and possibly a larger aircraft than the C-130’s due to the ‘increase’ in size of armoured vehicles in US Army service for example). I’d imagine that by the time the J’s in RAAF service are due for replacement that there will be a number of options, including the A-400M.

    An extra couple of C-27J? Yes, don’t disagree, would probably be more useful if also equipped with the gunship ‘pallet’ that is being developed for the C-27J’s, would make a good platform to support troops, especially the special forces when required.

    A fleet of 24-36 KC-30’s? Wow! Now that is a Red cordial moment! Where is the requirement for that many airframes? Where does the money come from? Where are they based? Where does the crewing come from?

    Realistically, and I repeat ‘realistically’, the starting point for increasing the KC-30A fleet would be to go back to the original requirement/proposal, 5 + 3 options, if those three options were exercised then a fleet of eight would be a good result, an extra two airframes (that also perform the VIP work too) to bring the fleet up to ten would be a great result considering all the ‘boom’ equipped aircraft that will be in the RAAF inventory by the mid 2020’s, but 24-36? Never, ever going to happen!

    747-8F’s and 747-8I’s? Again a Red cordial moment! Again Why? Sorry just doesn’t make sense.

    Why introduce ‘another’ type of aircraft into the RAAF inventory that requires its ‘own’ spares, infrastructure and specifically trained crews, as opposed to a pool of crew that would operate and support the fleet of 8-10 C-17’s, why? If the RAAF ever did need such a service, just lease one or two for that particular time they are required, but still I can’t see the point, the C-17 fleet is there specifically to do that sort of work.

    And the VIP 747’s, again why? Yes the 737 BBJ’s are not up to the long range job, all true, but the far more practical (and cost effective) answer would be to acquire a couple of A-330’s (of the same engine spec) as the KC-30’s, possibly those two airframes could be fully equipped KC-30A’s with a ‘removable’ VIP module so that they can perform both the VIP role (when needed) and also be available for AAR duties when needed too.

    Corey, mate, we all want to see the RAAF have the best capabilities that it can ‘reasonably’ afford and reasonably be able to man and operate, your suggestions are just way way too expensive, unnecessary and impractical.

    Cheers,

    John N

  • Gary

    says:

    John, well said. I think some Red Bull slipped in there also! Dave is already imploding with 8 x C17s, what would he do with all that extra metal on the tarmac!

  • Peter

    says:

    John N,
    Please keep your comments as above on file, so you can cut and paste for Corey’s next Red Cordial overdose.
    You are 100% correct in explaining ( so patiently ) that extra aircraft, of any type, need extra base facilities, extra air crew, extra maintainers & justification of purpose / demand in a tight ADF budget. The RAAF have a flight crew ratio of about 2.5 to 3 aircrew per frame, so the recent extra 2 C-17s require a minimum 5 extra Captains, 5 extra co-pilots & 5 extra loadies, plus groundcrew to support each frame. These crew aren’t just plucked from thin air ( pardon the pun ). It takes 4-6 years to train the pilots + the budget to do that.
    Apart from all that, we do have a Navy & Army that have a wish list also.
    Cheers Peter

  • TimC69

    says:

    Agree John,

    as I mentioned above that 10 Kc30’s (2 in VIP config) ,10 C17’s, 12 C130J’s/KC 390’s and 12 C27’s would nicely round off our transport requirements. Also 5 Embraer 175/190 to augment the VIP fleet.
    Replace the King Airs with either Dash 8 or PC 12’s-10-12 of either

  • Ben

    says:

    Off the whole abuse of Red Cordial by Corey and back to the closure of Richmond, I agree with Allan that the closure of Richmond is inevitability. However if the RAAF is determined to keep a CAS/SAR and transport capability close to the Sydney basin then perhaps an cordoned off apron and hangers could be included in the proposed Badgerys Creek scheme for the RAAF. This would be similar to Williamstown and many U.S bases in which civilian and military aircraft share the same space. That said this all depends on Badgerys actually going ahead.

  • John N

    says:

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks mate! And yes Red cordial and Red Bull would be a potent combination….. to be avoided!!

    Yes David and Corey do seem to be the extremes at opposite ends of this debate, but hey, it’s a broad Church here in AA, all comers opinions are welcome!

    Anyway, of all the groups in the RAAF, Air Mobility Group (formerly Air Lift Group) has certainly been through a major evolution (almost a revolution) over the last ten years, a significant re-equipment program, significant increase in capabilities and that will continue for the next few years too with the introduction of C-17’s no’s 7 & 8 (and possibly 9 & 10 too), the soon to be introduced 10 C-27J’s, the KC-30A’s getting closer to FOC and the possibility of a few additional airframes too, and lastly the 5 aircraft in the VIP fleet will probably also be renewed in the next few years as well.

    The one big ‘gap’ that I continue to see is in the number of KC-30A’s, yes on the one hand they are a massive increase in capability of the B707 tankers (which were not much more than a training capability), but five airframes will never be enough if the RAAF is ever involved in a ‘high’ intensity operation over a sustained period of time.

    Yes last year the then Def Min did indicate that another couple (2?) would be part of the Defence White Paper process, but I still feel that even a fleet of possibly seven (and he did hint at a dual VIP role too), that that capability will still fall short. Going back to the original plan /requirement it was for 5 + 3, those 3 options lapsed (and probably for good reason with all the development problems the KC-30’s faced), but those problems now appear to be in the past.

    Budget allowing, my ideal force structure for the KC-30A fleet would be for 8 fully ‘available’ airframes for the AAR role PLUS two ‘fully equipped’ KC-30A airframes that serve in the VIP fleet. Those two VIP dedicated airframes would have a modular VIP fit out that could be ‘changed’ out when required to allow for the same ‘economy’ class seating as the remainder of the fleet. Regardless of the internal fit out, those two airframes should be capable of performing the AAR role of the other aircraft at any time it was required.

    So where do we base these 10 C-17A’s and 10 KC-30A’s?

    Amberley is certainly going to get very crowded (yes the Government has announced that another $300m is to be spend on increasing and improving infrastructure for both types and yes it should be the ‘home’ base.

    An increased number of KC-30A airframes would also allow for various ‘flights’ or ‘detachments’ to be based elsewhere for significant periods of operation, I’d have the two VIP KC-30A’s based in Canberra, it would also allow a detachment of a couple of airframes being able to spend significant time in the NT based with the fighter squadron up there and still allow the ‘core’ of the squadron to be based at Amberley.

    A similar approach could also apply to the larger C-17A fleet too, ‘core’ fleet at Amberley, there is the very regular deployments to the ME and a couple could also be based in the NT too.

    Anyway, just my opinion of course too!!!

    Cheers,

    John N

  • Peter

    says:

    I may be a lone voice, but I still think Richmond can justify further investment based on sound future roles. Richmond has a very useful runway, I’ve seen USAF C-5s there many times, proving it can handle aircraft requiring runway length & weight capacity. It also has ample hardstands and hangers ripe for up-grades. If Richmond was sold off as another housing estate, that runway and the historic buildings would be lost forever.To justify some expenditure on facility upgrades here’s some options : keep the Spartans at Richmond when they arrive;, base a flight of KC-30As at Richmond so they would be close enough to train with the 4 fighter sqns at Williamtown,. Any VIP KC-30As at Canberra could go to the Richmond KC-30A flight for maintenance, rather than Amberley. Maybe re-locate 4 Sqn to Richmond when they re-equip with PC-21s. Maybe re-locate roles performed at Glenbrook along with other ADF facilities currently located across western Sydney all to the secure environment at Richmond. Western Sydney would love the investment & job opportunities.
    Amberley has grown from about 20 flyable F-111s & a few Caribous, to be the home of 24 Rhinos, soon 12 Growlers, 6 ( soon to be 8 or even 10 ) C-17S, 5 and maybe up to 8 KC-30As, possibly 10 Spartans plus any visiting aircraft. Yes $300M has been allocated to improve C-17 facilities, but it still only has 1 main runway for all these additional aircraft. So if Richmond was to close in the future, there’s no room to base 12-C-130s or their replacement.
    A joint airport at Badgerys Creek for commercial / RAAF won’t happen. At Williamtown, the RAAF run the ATC for both RAAF & RPT aircraft. Could you imagine that happening at Badgerys Creek, or even shared ATC functions ? Base security would be a nightmare, so many other issues. Let’s drop that idea.
    RAAF Richmond currently provides many more roles than just 1 x C-130 sqn. Check the RAAF website for a list. However if the ADF / Gov’t of the day decide in the future to close Richmond, the likely base for the C-130Js ( or their replacement ) could be Albatross at Nowra. Where the others currently at Richmond would go is anyone’s guess.

  • John N

    says:

    Hi Peter,

    Yes Richmond does appear to be the ‘forgotten’ man these days, actually I drove past a couple of weeks back and the flight line was a pale shadow of it’s former self (it doesn’t seem that long ago that two squadrons of Hercs were parked wingtip to wingtip the length of the flight line), what I saw was completely different, at the Western end of the flight line were a few of the retired ‘H’ models (and some more at the back of the flight line) and the remainder of the flight line was empty all the way to the Eastern end, not a ‘J’ in sight, there were a couple of J’s and a couple of AP-3C’s parked near the hangars further back from the flight line at the Eastern end.

    Having said that, yes there are certainly less operational aircraft using Richmond today than before, but with all the other functions and services that Richmond provides, I can imagine that the base will still be there for quite a while to come.

    As far as upgrading the base, yes no doubt the facilities could be enhanced, if there was a reason to do so, but I don’t think there is much scope for an enlargement of the runway itself.

    Cheers,

    John N

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