The United States Defense Security Cooperation Agency (US DSCA) has notified the US Congress of the potential sale of ten Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to India, in a step towards the conclusion of a deal for the acquisition of the heavy-lift aircraft by the Indian Air Force (IAF), the price of which could go up to US $ 5.8 billion.
US Ambassador to India, Timothy J. Roemer said of the notification, that took place last Friday, “This sale will offer economic benefits for both India and the United States and will likely include significant job creation in both countries.”
But the notification issued by the US DSCA says that while the principal contractors for the deal will be Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, besides possible additional subcontractors, it also clarifies, “At this time, there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.”
The notification says, “The Government of India (GOI) requests a possible sale of 10 Boeing C-17 GLOBEMASTER III aircraft, 45 F117-PW-100 engines (40 installed and 5 spare engines), 10 AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing Systems, 10 AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems, spare and repairs parts, repair and return, warranty, pyrotechnics, flares, other explosives, aircraft ferry and refueling support, crew armor, mission planning system software, communication equipment and support, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $5.8 billion.”
The notification also points out, “The acquisition of these C-17s will not present a new capability for the Indian Air Force, but will offer an increase in airlift capacity, reliability, and safety,” adding, “Additionally, the C-17s will facilitate enhanced standardization with the United States.”
The US DSCA notification also indicates a six-year time-frame for the deal, once concluded, saying, “Implementation of this proposed sale will require the participation of up to 20 U.S. Government and 20 contractor representatives for annual program management and technical reviews in India or the U.S. for one week per review for approximately six years.”
A statement issued by the US Embassy in New Delhi called this notification ‘an important step forward in the U.S. Foreign Military Sales process and is a necessary prerequisite to negotiations on the deal’.
The statement also clarifies that although the official notification to Congress lists the potential value as US $5.8 billion, ‘this represents the highest possible estimate for the sale, and includes all potential services offered’, adding, ‘The actual cost will be based on Indian Air Force (IAF) requirements and has yet to be negotiated’, since the IAF may also choose to purchase training equipment, spare and repair parts, test equipment, ground support equipment, equipment for training for aircrew and maintenance personnel, services like technical assistance, engineering services, logistical and technical support, as well as unique modifications specific to the requirements of the IAF.