Boeing has delivered the first of 10 C-17 Globemaster III destined for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to the US Air Force flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California.
This first aircraft is expected to be handed over to the IAF this summer and Boeing says it’s ‘on track to deliver four more C-17s to the IAF this year and five in 2014’. The forward, aft and center fuselage, and the wing assembly of the aircraft were put together last August.
A company statement quoted the Indian Air Attaché at Washington DC, Air Commodore Sanjay Nimesh, as saying, “The C-17 met the stipulated airlift requirements of the Indian Air Force when it flew field evaluation trials in India during June 2010,” adding, “It was exciting to see the C-17 fly again, this time with Indian Air Force markings, as the airlifter completed its first-flight milestone on January 11,” presumably with reference to the photograph above.
A USAF C-17 Globemaster III aircraft will participate in the upcoming Aero India 2013 air show in Bangalore next month.
The statement said, “Boeing has delivered 250 C-17s worldwide, including 218 to the US Air Force active duty, Guard and Reserve units. A total of 32 C-17s 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.”
India will be the second-largest operator of the aircraft after the US, once delivery is complete for an order worth USD 4.1 billion. India had signed an agreement for the aircraft with the US government on June 15, 2011, and finalized the Foreign Military Sales contract for the airframe on June 6, 2012, according to the statement. It quoted Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager, as saying, “The C-17’s ability to operate in extremely hot and cold climates; transport large payloads across vast ranges; and land on short, austere runways makes it ideal for India’s airlift needs.”
India is also on board the Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) via a ‘Performance-Based Logistics contract’, under which Boeing will support the IAF C-17 fleet by providing ‘access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale’. “This brings spares and support closer to the point of use and makes the C-17 more affordable to own and operate,” said the statement.