Boeing has handed over the third C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF), expanding the IAF's tactical airlifter fleet.
The shipment of the aircraft from Boeing's manufacturing facility in Long Beach, California, on 20 August, comes in less than one month of delivery of the second aircraft.
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.
Delivered in June, the first aircraft was immediately deployed in support of IAF operations.
The C-17 aircraft are expected to be operated in support of military and humanitarian airlift operations during emergencies from Hindon Air Force Base in New Delhi, India.
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 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, sharp runways, the aircraft is also capable of performing tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop missions.
Besides IAF, the aircraft is also operated by air forces in the US, Australia, UAE, Canada and Qatar, UAE, the UK and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of Nato and Partnership for Peace nations.
Boeing is scheduled to deliver an additional two aircraft to IAF this year, followed by the remaining five in 2014.
The company 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: India's third C-17 Globemaster III aircraft departing Boeing's Long Beach facility in US. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.