The Boeing Company says the US government has received a Letter of Request from India’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Indian Air Force regarding the potential acquisition of 10 C-17 Globemaster III advanced airlifters.
“Boeing is very pleased that the Indian government has expressed interest in acquiring the C-17 to modernise its airlift capabilities, and we look forward to working closely with them,” said Vivek Lall, vice president and India country head, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “We believe the C-17 can fulfill India’s needs for military and humanitarian airlift to help it meet its growing domestic and international responsibilities.”
The C-17 conducted demonstration flights in February at Aero India 2009 in Bangalore, where members of the MOD and Indian Air Force had the opportunity to see the aircraft’s capabilities in action. The Indian Air Force wants to replace and augment its fleet of Russian-made Antonov AN-32 and Ilyushin IL-76 airlifters.
“Nations looking to modernise their airlift capabilities turn to the C-17 because it has the highest reliability and mission-capable rate of any airlift aircraft,” added Tommy Dunehew, Boeing Global Mobility Systems vice president of Business Development. “It is available right now, without any development risk. Plus, the C-17 is an acquisition success story, with deliveries on or ahead of schedule for the past decade.”
A tactical and strategic airlifter, only the C-17 can carry large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid across international distances and deliver them directly to small austere airfields anywhere in the world. It can land combat-ready troops on semi-prepared runways or airdrop them directly into the fight. The C-17’s ability to back up allows it to operate on narrow taxiways and congested ramps. With a payload of up to 170,000 pounds, the C-17 can take off and land in 3,000 feet or less.
There are currently 212 C-17s in service worldwide, including 19 with international customers. The US Air Force, including active Guard and Reserve units, has 193. Other customers include the United Kingdom (which recently announced a contract for a seventh airlifter), Qatar, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force and Air Defence announced Jan. 6 that the UAE has signed a contract for the acquisition of six Boeing C-17s.