The Indian Air Force (IAF) is to receive the first of an order of C-130J transport aircraft on 16 December, manufacturer Lockheed Martin has said.

Two more will be delivered to India early next year, while another two will arrive in mid 2011 with a final two being delivered later in the year.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said that in conjunction with the purchase of six C-130J transport aircraft in 2008, the $4.1bn C-17 Indian deal with Boeing will provide the Indian Air Force with a strategic airlift and humanitarian response capability.

Once India has received all the aircraft, the IAF will have the second-largest C-17 fleet in the world, being behind the US.