The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has sent a letter of request to the US Government to acquire ten C-17 Globemaster III advanced airlifters from Boeing.

The IAF will use the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to replace and augment its aging fleet of AN-32 and IL-76 airlifters.

A tactical and strategic aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster III, is capable of airlifting large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid, and transport them to small austere airfields anywhere in the world.

The C-17 Globemaster III, which can take off and land in 3,000ft or less and has a payload of up to 170,000lb, can land combat-ready troops on semi-prepared runways or airdrop them directly into the fight.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security vice-president and India’s country head Vivek Lall said they believe the C-17 can fulfil India’s needs for military and humanitarian airlift to help it meet its growing domestic and international responsibilities.

Members of the MoD and the IAF experienced the airlift capability of C-17 Globemaster III during a demonstration flight of the airlifter in February 2009, at Aero India, Bangalore.