The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has been given the green light from the US government to move forward with the purchase of US-made Lockheed Martin C-130J four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft.  

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) cleared the possible sale of 24 C-130Js powered by Rolls-Royce AE-2100D turboprop engines on November 2, 2022. The deal also includes rated spare and repair parts consumables and accessories, personnel training equipment and other military software, and is estimated to cost $6.35 billion.  

The new military aircraft is dedicated to replacing the RAAF’s existing fleet, which currently stands at 12 Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, with an average age of 23 years in service. 

The French Air Force refuels a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III for the very first time, a sign that military ties have warmed

According to the DSCA, the proposed sale will improve Australia’s defense capability and will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the US. However, it will not alter “the basic military balance” in Australia or the surrounding region.  

“Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region,” the DGCA statement reads.   

“It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the agency added.  

Australia is investigating whether its own pilots are involved in China’s recruitment of ex-air force pilots