RAAF C-17 strategic airlift (photo : mccordair)
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] delivered the sixth Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17 Globemaster III today at the company's final assembly facility in Long Beach. The airlifter will be assigned to No. 36 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley near Brisbane, where it will help meet increased demand for airlift to support military, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.
"I am delighted to accept the sixth C-17 on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force," said RAAF Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown. "The C-17 is a capability that has improved Australia's reach locally, regionally and globally. Individually, the aircraft is impressive – but as a fleet, it has fundamentally enhanced our strategic airlift agility to meet the Australian Defence Force Air Mobility requirements."
The government of Australia announced its intent to buy a sixth airlifter during last year’s arrival ceremony for the RAAF's fifth C-17. The contract was completed on June 6 and now Boeing has delivered the aircraft less than five months later, due to the strong cooperation among the Australian and U.S. governments working with the Boeing team.
"The C-17 symbolizes the strength and the enduring nature of the partnership between Boeing and the Commonwealth of Australia," said Bob Ciesla, vice president, Airlift, and C-17 program manager. "We look forward to supporting the RAAF and this aircraft as we do the five other C-17s at Amberley."
Boeing provides after-delivery support to the RAAF C-17 fleet as part of the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics agreement with the U.S. Air Force. The GISP "virtual fleet" arrangement provides the highest airlift mission-capable rate at one of the lowest costs per flying hour.
Boeing has delivered 248 C-17s worldwide, including 218 to the U.S. Air Force active duty, Guard and Reserve units. A total of 30 C-17s have been delivered to Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. India has 10 C-17s on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.