to the airways
PICTURES: Australia's last two Boeing C-17s emerge
By Craig Hoyle

Australia’s last two Boeing C-17 strategic transports are pictured after emerging from the manufacturer’s assembly line in Long Beach, California on 18 December, when the nation’s air force formally accepted its third of four aircraft on order.

Registered for Royal Australian Air Force service as A41-208, Canberra’s third aircraft (below, foreground) will receive its defensive aids equipment over the coming weeks, before being flown to RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, in February.

© Australian Department of Defence

Also pictured (below, left) is aircraft A41-209, which is scheduled for acceptance in January 2008. The transports will join two C-17s delivered to the RAAF since December 2006.

© Australian Department of Defence

Boeing has so far received production contracts for 204 C-17s from Australia, Canada (4), the UK Royal Air Force (6) and the US Air Force (190). NATO hopes to receive funding approvals from 13 nations by April 2008 to confirm an order for a pooled fleet of four aircraft, while Boeing is also hoping to secure a fresh commitment to extend production for the USAF beyond a current end date during 2009.