New Delhi: India and the United States have begun talks here on the price and onboard equipment for the 10 Boeing C- 17 military transport aircraft that the Indian Air Force (IAF) wants.
According to reliable sources quoted by India Strategic defence magazine (www.indiastrategic.in), the validation trials of the aircraft were complete and that one United States Air Force (USAF) C-17 which had come to India in this regard last month had met the IAF specifications. The aircraft was tested in short and high altitude runways.
As India is buying the aircraft from the US government under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, the US Department of Defense (DOD) and USAF are leading the discussions from the supplier side and the Indian Ministry of Defence and the IAF are negotiating from the buyer side.
DOD has set the maximum price at USD 5.8 billion for the aircraft and various systems but the actual price would depend upon what equipment and onboard options the IAF finally selects.
The US government will issue a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) after these discussions are finalized, indicating the equipment, services, and lifecycle support and their costs. There would be a 3.8 percent administrative fee that the US government now charges on all FMS deals. (This fee varies periodically between 2.5 to 5 percent).
India Strategic quoted Boeing`s Vice President for Global Mobility Systems Tommy Dunehew, who was here recently, as saying that Boeing has offered assured maintenance and supply of spares for the lifetime of the aircraft - say 40 years - and serviceability.
The aircraft is manufactured by Boeing at its Los Angeles facility.
According to an official Boeing statement, the latest large T-tailed C-17 Globemaster-III, which India is seeking, can carry a maximum payload of 74,797 kilograms for 2,400 nautical miles without refueling and 45,495 kilograms for 4,000 nautical miles without refueling.
The aircraft can also be refueled midair to extend its range to carry equipment and humanitarian aid across international distances.
The statement said that the C-17 can operate from "a small, austere airfield in 3,000 feet or less" with full payload. "The C-17 is equipped with an externally blown flap system that allows a steep, low-speed final approach and low-landing speeds for routine short-field landings."
Boeing has delivered 199 C-17s to the USAF. There are 19 C-17 aircraft with other international customers.