Australia has taken delivery of its fifth and final Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, as L-3 Link Simulation & Training begins operations of its C-17 training system at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley.
Australia originally announced the order for the airlifter at Australia's Avalon air show in March. The US Air Force approved the sale of the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sale process. To expedite the delivery, it assigned a C-17 that was already in production at Boeing's Long Beach plant in California.
The C-17 has seen extensive use in RAAF service. RAAF C-17s participated in relief efforts following Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami in March. They have also participated in humanitarian relief efforts in Australia, Pakistan and New Zealand. In addition, they support Australian forces operating in Afghanistan.
"Since 2006, Boeing has enjoyed a strong partnership with the RAAF and the crews who fly the C-17," said Boeing C-17 programme manager Bob Ciesla, speaking at a handover ceremony in Long Beach.
"With this fifth C-17, the RAAF continues to expand and extend its global airlift reach."
Separately, L-3 Link Simulation & Training said it assumed responsibility for the C-17 training system at RAAF Amberley.
"Earlier this year, L-3 Link received a contract to serve as prime contractor for the USAF's C-17 TS and has been operating 10 installations in the US since 1 June," said L-3 Link.
"The RAAF Amberley installation, which supports the service's 36th Squadron, represents the first international C-17 TS installation that is being overseen and managed by L-3 Link."
L-3 Link will be responsible for providing the pilots, loadmasters and maintenance personnel of the RAAF's 36th Squadron with initial qualification and continuation training via classroom instruction, computer-based training and a range of simulation systems.
The US company will also undertake programme management, training device modifications, courseware development, instruction, and concurrency management between the training system and the aircraft platform.
L-3 Link's partner on the programme, Textron unit AAI Corporation, will provide "maintenance training device production and modification in addition to all C-17 TS contractor logistics support", said L-3 Link.