Australia will acquire a sixth Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft in a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal valued at A$280 million ($297 million).
"The purchase of the sixth C-17A will double the number of C-17A aircraft available for operations at any one time from two to four," said defence minister Stephen Smith in a statement.
The new aircraft will arrive in Australia early next year. In November 2011, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale.
© Royal Australian Air Force
"The C-17A aircraft can lift very large and heavy cargoes over long distances providing a significant contribution to Australia's ability to reach and respond to events," said Smith. "A sixth C-17 will give the government increased options to support a wider range of contingencies that might require heavy-lift aircraft and will extend the life of the C-17 fleet by reducing the use of each aircraft."
Smith listed a number of missions that the Royal Australian Air Force's C-17 fleet has performed, including domestic and international humanitarian missions. The aircraft have also played an important role supporting Australian operations in Afghanistan.