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Citing a growing need for airlift, the Australian government procured a fifth C-17 Globemaster III in 2011 and then contracted for a sixth aircraft in June 2012. Both C-17s were delivered in record time due to the strong cooperation among the Australian and U.S. governments working with the Boeing team.
“I recall a day in Oct 2011 when we greeted the fifth here and I said to the chief of the Air Force on that day, and to the men and women of the Amberley base, that I like the fifth one so much we might buy a sixth one and we did,” said Minister for Defence Stephen Smith. “And we got it in record time,” he added.
The sixth C-17 was officially welcomed at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley in late 2012 following a first ever fly past over Brisbane and the Gold Coast of Australia. The newest member of the RAAF C-17 fleet carried a specialist medical team and, along with three other RAAF C-17s carrying various loads, showcased the versatility of the Globemaster III.
“The C-17 as a capability has improved Australia’s reach not only locally but regionally and also globally,” said Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, who accepted Australia’s sixth C-17 from Boeing earlier in the month. “They’ve been an incredibly reliable aircraft and I think they will continue to be that way into the future.”