New Delhi: For the first time, the IAF has used its latest C-17 Globemaster III strategic heavylift aircraft to fly non-stop from Hindan near here to drop equipment for an Army battalion being inducted in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
"Having touched down on Indian soil on June 18, IAF`s latest acquisition C-17 made its maiden flight to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands yesterday," an IAF release said.
Climbing an altitude of 28,000 feet with an unrefueled range of 2,400 nautical miles, the aircraft landed at Port Blair, carrying support equipment, for rotational movement of Army infantry battalion there, it said.
India has signed a USD 4.1 billion dollar contract for acquiring 10 of these aircraft from the US Air Force under a Foreign Military Sales deal signed a couple of years ago.
The C-17 is a heavy-lift transport aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF). India has become the largest customer of this sophisticated aircraft after the US.
The C-17 commonly performs strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world and its additional roles include tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop duties.
The plane can carry 102 paratroopers or 158 armed troops or 54 patients up to a distance of nearly 4,500 km at a speed of over 800 km per hour.