Australia’s government announced the purchase of two additional C-17 Globemaster IIIs as part of a $700 million foreign military sales deal. “The two additional C-17s will provide vital heavy airlift support to a range of regional and global coalition operations and greatly increase Australia’s capacity to provide rapid and effective disaster rescue,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in an April 10 ministerial release. The Royal Australian Air Force currently operates a fleet of six C-17s, which will now rise to eight. Late last year, Australia expressed interest in purchasing upwards of four additional airframes from Boeing’s remaining stock. The RAAF plans to take delivery of its seventh C-17 within the next six months, and the eighth and final airlifter by the end of the year, according to the statement. Neighboring New Zealand announced it is also eyeing the C-17 as a possible replacement for its legacy airlifters.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.