The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) entire C-17A Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft fleet has achieved final operational capability (FOC), the Chief of Air Force Marshal Geoff Brown has confirmed.
Brown said the latest milestone has been achieved within budget and on schedule due to efforts by RAAF servicemen and women, the Defence organisation and the Defence Materiel Organisation.
"The government’s purchase of two additional C-17A Globemasters has greatly increased our ability to respond with strategic airlift in our region, when and where Air Force is needed most," Brown said.
"In just a few short years, the C-17As have made a difference to communities around the world with humanitarian and disaster relief, and provided a continuing link to our men and women in the Middle East area of operations."
Initially, four of the C-17s achieved FOC in 2011, but the remaining two achieved recently due to the staged acquisition.
All six C-17A Globemasters are operated by Number 36 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.
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Powered by four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines, the C-17 Globemaster is a military tactical transport aircraft designed to conduct rapid strategic airlift of troops and supply of palleted cargo to main operating bases or forward-operating bases in extreme climates worldwide.
The Boeing-built aircraft can land on short, sharp runways, and can also perform tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop missions.
Apart from the RAAF, the aircraft is also operated by air forces in the US, India, UAE, Canada, Qatar, the UK and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of Nato and Partnership for Peace nations.
Image: A RAAF C-17A Globemaster III aircraft at Multi National Base Tarin Kot, Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of US Army Spc. Jennifer Spradlin, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.