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Another Globemaster Down Under: Australia is interested in procuring a fifth C-17 transport, the Australian defense ministry announced Tuesday. It has sent a letter of request to the United States government seeking information on the potential purchase under a US foreign military sales agreement, according to a release. Acquiring another C-17 would almost certainly obviate the need for the Royal Australian Air Force to buy two additional C-130Js to meet its airlift requirements, said Australian defense minister Stephen Smith. While Australian military operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East are the primary impetus for interest in the fifth C-17, recent cataclysmic floods in Queensland and the earthquake in New Zealand have shown that the C-17 is an "essential part of Australia's capacity" to respond to natural disasters domestically and in its neighborhood, said minister for defense materiel Jason Clare. Boeing delivered Australia's four C-17s between 2006 and 2008. (Smith-Clare transcript)