The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly unveiled plans to acquire ten additional C-17 Globemaster III strategic aircraft from Boeing, in a bid to expand the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) tactical airlifter fleet.

In a statement, the Indian MoD said: "The request for acquiring ten additional Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft is being processed.

"Such a purchase will give IAF significant global strategic capability."

In June 2011, the IAF contracted Boeing to supply ten 70t C-17 aircraft for the replacement of its ageing Russian IL-76 airlifter fleet at an estimated cost of $4.1bn.

"Such a purchase will give IAF significant global strategic capability."

Expected to be used for military and humanitarian airlift roles during emergencies from Hindon Air Force Base in New Delhi, India, the IAF C-17s were most recently deployed in support of Cyclone Phailin relief operations.

Powered by four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines, the C-17 Globemaster is designed to conduct rapid strategic airlift of troops and supply palleted cargo to main operating bases or forward-operating bases (FOBs) in extreme environments 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.

The aircraft is also operated by air forces in the US, Australia, UAE, Canada and Qatar, the UK and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of Nato and Partnership for Peace nations.

Meanwhile, the company announced its decision to end production of the C-17 production programme after the final Boeing C-17 Globemaster III departed its Long Beach Assembly facility in California in November this year.

The final aircraft will be delivered to Qatar Emiri Air Force in 2016.

However, Boeing will continue to provide support, maintenance and upgrades to the worldwide C-17 fleet under the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics agreement.