Boeing [NYSE: BA] today delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) its first C-17 Globemaster III during a ceremony at the company's Long Beach, Calif., C-17 manufacturing facility. Senior RAAF officials joined more than 1,000 C-17 employees for the delivery celebration.
"I am very pleased our team was able to provide world-class airlift capability to our customer in record time," said Dave Bowman, C-17 program vice president. "This is a great day for Boeing and demonstrates our commitment to design, build, deliver and support the world's greatest airlifter."
Air Vice-Marshal John Quaife, Air Commander Australia for the RAAF also noted the speed and ease of the acquisition and Boeing's role in supporting the plane's successful introduction to Australia. "We are very pleased to acquire this new, Responsive Global Airlift capability in Australia," Quaife said. "The C-17s will dramatically increase our ability to support worldwide operations of the Australian Defence Force as well as humanitarian relief in the Asia Pacific region."
The newly delivered aircraft features the "Block 17" configuration -- the most modern variant of C-17s built by Boeing, with upgraded software and avionics. The RAAF C-17 also has unique markings, differentiating it from U.S. Air Force C-17s. A black stallion on the C-17's tail identifies the airplane as part of the RAAF's No. 36 Squadron, an airlift unit that will be based in Amberley, west of Brisbane. A kangaroo on the aircraft's fuselage is part of the RAAF roundel, a distinctive emblem painted on military aircraft to indicate its nation of origin.
The Australian aircraft is the first international C-17 delivery since the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force received its fourth C-17 in August 2001. After a Dec. 4 welcome ceremony in Canberra, Australia's capital city, the RAAF's first C-17 will arrive at RAAF Base Amberley on Dec. 6.
The second Australian C-17 is scheduled for delivery in 2007, and the final two aircraft will be delivered in 2008.
The C-17 is the world's only tactical airlift aircraft with strategic capabilities. Capable of flying between continents and landing on short, austere runways, the C-17 is used worldwide for both military and humanitarian missions.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.8 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer; a foremost developer of advanced concepts and technologies; a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.