LONG BEACH, Calif., Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Boeing has delivered a fifth C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to the Australian air force in a ceremony at a final assembly facility in California.
"Since 2006, Boeing has enjoyed a strong partnership with the (Australia air force) and the crews who fly the C-17," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing C-17 program manager. "With this fifth C-17, the (air force) continues to expand and extend its global airlift reach.
"We're certain that the C-17 we delivered today will continue to fully provide the reliability and versatility the (Australia air force) has come to expect."
Australian C-17s were part of the relief mission to Japan following a devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. The fleet delivered more than 1 million pounds of cargo, including water cannons to help cool the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Australia air force C-17s also conducted relief operations following a major earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and floods in Pakistan and Australia.
Australia in April announced the signing of an agreement with the U.S. government to acquire its fifth C-17 and the U.S. Air Force assigned a C-17 already in production to be delivered to it.
There are 235 C-17s in service worldwide -- 24 with international customers. The U.S. Air Force, including active duty, Guard and Reserve units, has 211 C-17s.