T he Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the C-17 squadron at Hindon air base near New Delhi on Monday. Defense Minister AK Antony was present to do the honors for No. 81 Squadron which will operate the aircraft.
The IAF has received the first three of ten Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, so far. Two more aircraft will be delivered before the end of 2013 and the remaining five will be delivered by November 2014.
Group Captain BS Reddy is the first Commanding Officer (CO) of the C-17 ‘Skylords’ squadron. The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne told reporters after the induction ceremony that the aircraft would be able to operate from the country’s northern-most Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) just south of the Karakoram Pass and close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This comes at time of recurring tensions between India and China over intrusions across the LAC by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
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Last month, the IAF’s No. 77 Squadron ‘Veiled Vipers’ which operates the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft set a world record by deploying an aircraft to DBO, which created much sensation in the news media for being the highest latitude of operation for the aircraft.
StratPost understands that before DBO, the highest altitude of operation for the aircraft was at La Paz in Bolivia. No. 77 Squadron studied the data from this, and other, high altitude operations and extrapolated their operating parameters for the DBO operation from it.
It is also understood that these operating parameters far exceeded the manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s operating envelope and some IAF sources acknowledge that the US aviation company would dearly love to know how exactly the IAF managed the feat.