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Australia orders 5th C-17, further C-130J orders unlikely

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LONG BEACH, Calif., April 18, 2011 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that the Commonwealth of Australia has signed an agreement with the U.S. government to acquire a fifth Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifter. The Foreign Military Sale allows the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to expand its C-17 fleet as it faces an increased demand for humanitarian and disaster relief missions.

RAAF C-17s supported relief efforts to earthquake- and tsunami-affected regions in Japan under Operation PACIFIC ASSIST for nearly two weeks in March. The RAAF delivered personnel and more than 1 million pounds of cargo -- including food and water, vehicles, disaster relief equipment, and pumps to help cool the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Weeks earlier, the RAAF supported relief efforts in Christchurch, New Zealand, following an earthquake there, and to several communities in Queensland, Australia, that were affected by flooding.

"Boeing thanks the RAAF, a C-17 customer since 2006, for its confidence in the airlifter's capabilities," said Bob Ciesla, C-17 program manager for Boeing. "We salute the RAAF and its crews, who helped save lives in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. We are proud to serve as their partner."

Due to the RAAF's immediate need for an additional airlifter, the U.S. Air Force has approved Australia’s request to take delivery of its fifth C-17 in August. The airlifter will be assigned to RAAF Base Amberley’s 36 Squadron, near Brisbane.

The C-17 can transport large payloads across vast ranges, land on short, austere runways, and operate in extreme climates. It is the only airlifter that possesses both tactical and strategic capabilities. Boeing provides support to the RAAF's C-17s through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, a Performance-Based Logistics program that includes an extensive support network.

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