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Australia’s First C-17 Prepares for Flight: Boeing has begun to prepare the first C-17 aircraft destined for the Royal Australian Air Force for its first flight later this month, according to a Boeing news release. The company just finished painting it in RAAF markings at the Boeing paint hangar in Long Beach, Calif. Australian officials said the aircraft will give the RAAF a new global airlift capability to aid in humanitarian and disaster relief. “The C-17 will meet the vital airlift needs of the Australian Defense Force over the next 30 years,” John Blackburn, Australia’s chief of air force said. Some RAAF airmen recently got experience with the new airlifter when USAF airlifted Australian troops and equipment. Boeing expects to turn over the first Aussie C-17 to the RAAF late next month.