The Royal Australian Air Force's first Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifter has been readied in Long Beach, California ahead of its maiden flight later this month (pictured below).

The RAAF will officially take delivery of the aircraft, the first of four on order, in late November following test flights.

The air force plans to rationalise its two transport squadrons to support the planned introduction of the four C-17s from later this year, with a single C-17 squadron expected. Australia’s C-17 purchase is the  subject of US foreign military sales negotiations, and is expected to cost A$2.2 billion ($1.8 billion) over the first six years.

C17 RAAF W445
© Ken Graeb / Boeing