Globemaster IIIs Down Under

Australia seeks $2.8bn cargo planes

A few weeks ago in Linkzookery I noted that Australia was looking to buy some C-17s. Well, the deal is moving forward:

The US Defence Department today told Congress it had approved a possible sale of up to four Boeing C-17 cargo planes and associated equipment to Australia in a deal worth up to $US2 billion ($2.8 billion).

The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency said the Australian Government had requested the sale of the C-17s, up to 18 F-177 engines made by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies, and up to four AN/AAQ-24 infrared countermeasures systems made by Northrop Grumman.

Politicians now have 30 days to reject the proposed sale, which also includes night vision goggles and assorted other equipment, but Congress has rarely acted to block a sale.

This is good news for Boeing, which, even if this goes through, will have to close the C-17 production line by the end of 2008 unless more orders come in.

Australia, meanwhile, will benefit greatly from owning its own strategic lift. The Aussie military, while very capable, is dependent on the airlift of its allies. Otherwise they’re forced to contract it out, a common Achilles heel for militaries around the globe.


  1. I actually met the Boeing sales guy who was responsible for C-17 sales in that corner of the globe (met him at my friend’s wedding, of all places). He said that the Aussies were very interested in C-17s for their force-projection capabilities, but that they were expensive aircraft that the RAAF was having trouble purchasing them in numbers.

  2. The PM made an executive decision that got around that. New money outside the normal budget. Problem solved. (A Federal budget in surplus with no net government debt can allow you to do that from time to time. Long may it last.)

  3. There’s actually that much gain for Australia. Without our own bases, it doesn’t help beyond our borders except in conjunction with others anyway. Within our borders, we would probably be better off with more and smaller airlift vehicles to be able to provide support to more points – bush airstrips and so forth. It’s not like we have much that would benefit from being able to be lifted in larger aircraft to begin with.