The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft into its operational service during a ceremony at Hindon Air Force Base in New Delhi, India.
Indian defence minister AK Antony was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying during the induction ceremony that the commissioning represents a giant stride for the air force and the aircraft will also perform tactical and non-traditional operations.
IAF air chief marshal NAK Browne said the aircraft will be flown from both the advanced landing grounds in the north-eastern states and high altitude bases in the north and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Around ten 70t C-17 aircraft were ordered by IAF from Boeing through a $4.1bn deal for the replacement of its ageing Russian IL-76 airlifter fleet, in June 2011.
Boeing has so far delivered three aircraft to IAF, and is scheduled to hand over an additional two aircraft 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.
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, the UAE, the UK and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of Nato and Partnership for Peace nations.
Image: India’s third C-17 Globemaster III aircraft departing Boeing’s Long Beach facility in US. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.