Australia considers another C-17A

Sept. 27, 2011 at 6:18 AM
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CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Australia has sent a Letter of Request to the United States for the potential purchase of an additional C-17A aircraft.

The letter, announced by Australian Minister for Defense Stephen Smith, formally asks cost and availability information.

Smith said a sixth C-17A Globemaster III, which would be obtained through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, would give the government increased options to support a wider range of contingencies that might require heavy-lift aircraft and also double the number of C-17A aircraft available for operations at any one time.

The acquisition of the fifth C-17A was announced by the government on March 1and Smith took delivery of the aircraft at Boeing's production facility near Los Angeles this month.

The C-17A can transport very large and heavy cargoes over long distances, providing a significant contribution to Australia's ability to reach and respond to events. One C-17A can carry up to four C-130 Hercules loads in a single lift and cover twice the distance in three-quarters of the time.

Following receipt of cost and availability information from the United States, the government will make a decision about the purchase based on capability, cost and schedule assessments.

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