The Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken delivery of the second C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft from Boeing during a ceremony at its facility in Long Beach, California, US.
Around ten C-17 aircraft were ordered by IAF from Boeing through a $4.1bn deal for replacement of its ageing Russian IL-76 airlifter fleet, in June 2011.
The first aircraft was delivered by Boeing in June, and was immediately deployed in support of IAF operations, and will now be supplemented by the new aircarft.
Indian Air Force chief air chief marshal NAK Browne said the first C-17 Globemaster III is poised to serve as a major component in the IAF’s modernisation drive, in addition to signifying a tremendous boost in the service’s strategic airlift capability.
”Because it was delivered mission-ready, it soon undertook its first strategic mission to our Andaman Nicobar Command at Port Blair,” Browne said.
Boeing vice-president and C-17 programme manager Nan Bouchard said the C-17s are expected to play a significant role in supporting unique IAF operations in remote locations, such as the Himalayas and desert environments.
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"The C-17 provides the versatility to complete any mission, anywhere. We look forward to working with the Indian Air Force and the US Air Force as we deliver the remainder of India’s fleet," Bouchard said.
Powered by four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines, the C-17 Globemaster is a military tactical transport aircraft designed to conduct rapid strategic airlift of troops and supply of palleted cargo to main operating bases or forward-operating bases in extreme climates worldwide.
Capable of transporting large payloads across vast ranges and landing on short, austere runways, an additional three aircraft are scheduled to be handed over to the IAF this year, followed by the remaining five in 2014.
Meanwhile, Boeing is also supporting the IAF C-17 fleet through the Globemaster III integrated sustainment program (GISP) performance-based logistics contract, which ensures mission readiness by enabling access to an extensive support network for global parts availability and economies of scale.
Image: Indian Air Force’s first C-17 Globemaster III aircraft during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.