Rare Sight As All Eight RAAF C-17A Globemaster III Strategic Airlifters Share The Flightline Together For The First Time

Eight C-17A Globemaster aircraft from No 36 Squadron on the flightline at RAAF Base Amberley. (Image credit: © Commonwealth of Australia 2019)

Some really interesting photos from Down Under show the gathering of 8 C-17s at RAAF Base Amberley, Australia.

The photographs in this post were just released by the Royal Australian Air Force. They show all eight of No. 36 Squadron’s C-17A Globemasters, together on the tarmac at RAAF Base Amberley, for the very first time, on Nov. 18, 2019.

Four C-17As were introduced to RAAF service between December 2006 and March 2008, with another four acquired in 2011, 2012, and 2015 (two aircraft). Although the fleet has been operating with 8 aircraft since four years, the nature of the missions the C-17A carry out on a daily basis, often taking the No. 36 Squadron personnel and aircraft around the world, has prevented all eight aircraft from being together at their home base until a few days ago. Indeed, the C-17A provides the Australian Defence Force with a strategic airlift capability, able to carry large items of equipment and cargo over long distances and, as often happens with such “force multipliers” their support is, if not in overbooking, in very high demand.

By the way, the RAAF C-17A maneuvering over Brisbane is also one of the highlights of the yearly Brisbane Riverfire Festival. In 2018, the C-17 literally “stole the stage” performing its flypast over downtown Brisbane and resulting in tons of videos that were posted online. As you may remember, while the majority of those who watched the flypast, either in person or on the Internet, found it “cool”, some others were scared by the sight of a big aircraft zipping between the skyscrapers. Some media called the flypast “9/11 stuff” and said people were “terrified” by the “unnecessarily stupid and dangerous stunt” as the display was defined by those who slammed it on the social media. However, all the criticism seemed way too exaggerated, as I commented in a post published here back then.

Another shot of the 8 C-17As together. (© Commonwealth of Australia 2019)

Located 8 kilometers from Ipswich and 50 km to the south-west of Brisbane, RAAF Base Amberley is the largest RAAF operational air base and one of the most interesting in Australia. In fact, along with the No. 36 Squadron, several other flying units are based there:

  • Number 1 Squadron – F/A-18F Super Hornet
  • Number 6 Squadron – EA-18G Growler
  • Number 33 Squadron – KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport
  • Number 35 Squadron – C27J Spartan
  • CHC Helicopters Search and Rescue
Eight C-17A Globemaster aircraft from No 36 Squadron. (Image credit: © Commonwealth of Australia 2019)

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.