Washington: The Boeing C-17 globe master military transport aircraft, being inducted into the Indian Air Force forms a major component of its modernisation effort, the visiting IAF Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has said.
"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 modernisation drive," Browne said yesterday after receiving delivery of second C-17 aircraft from Boeing in Long Beach, California.
The first of the 10 C-17`s being bought from America`s Boeing company was inducted into the IAF a month ago.
Boeing will deliver three more C-17s this year and another five in 2014. All 10 C-17 is being purchased from Boeing at an estimated cost of USD 4.1 billion.
The C-17, which would replace the ageing fleet of Russian-built cargo planes, can operate in extreme climates, transport large payloads across vast ranges and land on short, austere runways.
"Because it was delivered mission-ready, it soon undertook its first strategic mission to our Andaman Nicobar Command at Port Blair," Browne said.
"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 said in a statement.
C-17s have an important role in supporting unique IAF operations in remote locations such as the Himalayas and desert environments, said Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager.
"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," he said.
Boeing so far has delivered 255 C-17s, including 222 to the US Air Force, and a total of 33 to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the UAE, Britain and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.