The federal government is spending nearly $10 billion on a boosted fleet of planes for the Royal Australian Air Force.
Defense Minister Richard Marles said the government would buy 20 new C-130J Hercules aircraft from the US for $9.8 billion.
The aircraft is used for the deployment of Defence personnel, equipment, and humanitarian supplies.
The C-130J has been involved in almost every major defence operation in recent decades, from Bougainville and East Timor through to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More recently, the aircraft supported Australia’s response to COVID-19 in the region, delivering vaccines and medical supplies, as well bushfire and flood response.
An Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft arrives at RAAF Base Scherger, in Queensland during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021.
The planes are used for military transport. (CPL Brett Sherriff / Department of Defence)
The RAAF currently operates 12 Hercules planes, with the first of the new fleet expected to arrive from the US in late 2027.
“The C-130J Hercules is an important capability for our defence force, but also for Australia as a nation,” Marles said.
“From bushfire and flood emergencies across the country, the delivery of crucial supplies to the region during the COVID-19 pandemic and more than two decades supporting peacekeeping operations, this has and will continue to be a crucial asset.”
The new fleet will be based at the Richmond RAAF base in the Hawkesbury, in New South Wales.
While the planes are manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the government claimed the purchase would also provide local jobs, including in building new aircraft facilities and infrastructure.
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