C-17A Globemaster III

The C-17A Globemaster III provides a logistics backbone for Australian Defence Force operations. It allows Australia to rapidly deploy troops, supplies, combat vehicles, heavy equipment and helicopters anywhere in the world.

Australia introduced an initial fleet of four C-17As between 2006 and 2008. Additional aircraft were acquired in 2011, 2012, and 2015.

Based at RAAF Base Amberley, all eight C-17As are operated by No. 36 Squadron. C-17As have supported personnel on deployments, and been an integral part of disaster relief and humanitarian missions.

The C-17A Globemaster is a high-wing, four-engine heavy transport aircraft. It is fitted with a cargo bay ramp that allows it to airdrop cargo in-flight, and can operate from unsurfaced runways as short as 3500 feet. It can also be used to conduct aeromedical evacuation missions.

Able to carry up to 77 tonnes of cargo, the C-17A's cargo bay can accommodate loads ranging from:

  • an Abrams Tank
  • four Bushmaster vehicles
  • three Black Hawk helicopters.


  • Pilot 
  • Co-pilot 
  • Loadmaster
Length 53m
Height 16.8m
Wingspan 51.75m
Weight 128 tonnes (empty); 265 tonnes (maximum take off weight)
Engines Four Pratt & Whitney F-117-PW-100 turbofans
Thrust 40,440lb force each
Range 10,390 kilometres with paratroopers
Ceiling 45,000ft
Cruise Speed Mach 0.74 (829km/h)
  • 134 passengers
  • 102 paratroopers 
  • six high-dependency medical patients or 36 stretcher patients 
  • one CH-47F Chinook helicopter 
  • 18 463L military pallets 
  • more than 70 tonnes of cargo.