Just over a month after the delivery of the first Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has received the second of ten of these aircraft on order, with the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne accepting delivery of the aircraft at the company’s Long Beach plant in California, USA.
According to a Boeing statement, the company delivered the aircraft ‘a month after India’s first C-17 arrived in the country and immediately began supporting IAF operations’.
The statement quoted Browne as saying, “Our first C-17 Globemaster III not only signifies a tremendous boost in our strategic airlift capability, but also is poised to form a major component in the IAF’s modernization drive. “Because it was delivered mission-ready, it soon undertook its first strategic mission to our Andaman Nicobar Command at Port Blair. I wish to place on record my appreciation to the US government, the US Air Force and the Boeing team for the timely delivery of the aircraft that makes the IAF the world’s second-largest operator of the C-17 after the US,” he added.
Boeing’s statement added that ‘This second IAF C-17 also will immediately enter service’ and that ‘India will receive 10 aircraft by 2014’. The company says it is ‘on schedule to deliver three more IAF C-17s this year and five in 2014’.
The statement quoted its C-17 program manager, Nan Bouchard, as saying, “C-17s have an important role in supporting unique Indian Air Force operations in remote locations such as the Himalayas and desert environments. “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 added.
The IAF C-17 fleet is to be supported by the company’s Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics contract. “The GISP ‘virtual fleet’ arrangement ensures mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale,” said the statement. Boeing has set up infrastructure at Hindon air base for supporting the C-17 fleet.
Boeing has so far delivered 255 of these aircraft, of which 222 have been inducted into the US Air Force. The rest of the 33 have been delivered to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.
“Ms Heidi Grant, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, Mr Tim Peters, Vice President, Ms Nan Bouchard, Vice President C-17 Program Manager, Senior Leadership from USAF and Boeing, Air Warriors of Indian Air Force Acceptance Team, Ladies & Gentlemen.
I feel extremely honored to be here to accept the Second C-17 Globemaster for the Indian Air Force. The delivery of INDIA-2 this afternoon marks an important milestone in the Indo-US global strategic partnership.
From where I see things on the other side of the globe, India and the United States are witnessing a defining phase in their relationship. Spurred by a convergence of interests, our nations have ongoing cooperation on a wide range of issues. I believe that as the two largest democracies, we share common values of freedom and peaceful co-existence. Our shared belief in equality underpins the strong desire for international peace and stability.
The complementary strengths of India and United States provide a solid foundation for developing mutually beneficial strategic responses in the 21st century. Close bilateral military engagements form a crucial element in this global partnership. The growing defense cooperation has fostered greater understanding and appreciation about our commonalities as well as unique security imperatives.
The C-17 Globemaster program is an excellent example of our multidimensional relationship. The program re-affirms our faith in strong bilateral ties and productive exchanges. The Globemaster was specifically chosen to address Indian capability enhancement needs. As you are aware the IAF has undertaken a major modernization drive, fully aligned with its mandate of providing critical capabilities to our nation. The enhancement in IAF’s operational potential will enable us to secure our national interests and protect our people. Following the successful induction and operationalization of C-130 J Super Hercules, the procurement of 10 C-17 aircraft will provide a tremendous boost to our strategic airlift capability. I am told that the Globemaster project will make IAF the second largest operator in the world after the United States.
The C-17 brings with it a proven track record and significant combat capabilities. The platform’s ability to rapidly deploy at long distances with large pay loads gives the Indian Air Force tremendous flexibility in supporting our combat operations. The enhanced reach and versatility will support operations in an extremely challenging terrain that spans from Himalayas in the north where we have bases at an altitude of 11000-13000 ft to Indian Ocean region in the South. With its ability to operate from short landing strips, the aircraft will also be a crucial enabler in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) within our borders and beyond.
I wish to place on record my appreciation for the US Government for facilitating the Globemaster program. I thank them for critical support and oversight that assisted in expeditious completion of the process. I also thank USAF for providing comprehensive training to our crew. The training for 20 pilots and 10 loadmasters has been completed successfully. The project will see a total of 30 pilots, 15 loadmasters and 96 technicians being trained on all aspects of operations and maintenance. The exposure to CONOPS and operational indoctrination by USAF will contribute immensely in early operationalization of the fleet.
I also compliment Boeing for honoring the delivery schedule and ensuring a fast track induction plan. The company is scheduled to deliver three more C-17s this year and remaining five in 2014. I am confident of Boeing’s commitment to future timelines and I look forward to a strong professional association between Boeing and IAF. As we look at new areas of cooperation, I find tremendous potential in Boeing’s capacity and expertise for IAF’s ongoing capability enhancement. The upcoming programs on Chinook and Apache are ideal examples of this potential.
I commend the IAF C-17 crew who through their hard work and professionalism have made early operationalization a reality. As they prepare to fly INDIA-2 out of Long Beach, I wish them happy landings. Their arrival is keenly awaited in India.
Jai Hind !”