LONG BEACH, Calif., April 19 (UPI) -- Australia has signed a Foreign Military Sales agreement with the United States to acquire a fifth Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifter, Boeing announced.
Australian air force C-17s supported relief efforts to earthquake- and tsunami-affected regions in Japan under Operation Pacific Assist for nearly two weeks in March.
The Australian air force delivered personnel and more than 1 million pounds of cargo -- including food and water, vehicles, disaster relief equipment and pumps to help cool the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Weeks earlier, the air force supported relief efforts after an earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, and to several communities in Queensland, Australia, that were affected by flooding.
"Boeing thanks the (Australian air force), a C-17 customer since 2006, for its confidence in the airlifter's capabilities," said Bob Ciesla, C-17 program manager for Boeing. "We salute the (air force) and its crews who helped save lives in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. We are proud to serve as their partner."
The Australian air force expressed an immediate need for an additional airlifter and the aircraft will be delivered in August.
Boeing provides support to C-17s operated by the Australian air force through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, a performance-based logistics program that includes an extensive support network.