Washington: The Indian Air Force on Tuesday took possession of its first Boeing C-17 Globemaster-III heavy-lift transport aircraft, becoming the newest operator of the leading airlifter.
"The C-17 will equip the Indian Air Force with amongst the world`s most advanced humanitarian and strategic capabilities," said Air Vice Marshal SRK Nair, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Transport and Helicopters).
"We have looked forward to this day when our Indian Air Force flies the first C-17 to its new home in India," Nair said in a statement issued by the Boeing, manufacturer of C-17.
Boeing said it is track to deliver four more C-17s to the IAF this year and five in 2014. This first aircraft was transferred today after completion of a flight test programme at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California, that began following the January 22 delivery.
Noting that nations turn to the C-17 for the capability to perform a wide range of operations, from peacekeeping and disaster relief to troop movements from semi-prepared airfields, Tommy Dunehew, Boeing vice president of Business Development for Mobility, Surveillance and Engagement said that thus aircraft will provide the Indian Air Force with the versatility to augment airlift capability.
With this Boeing has now delivered 254 C-17s, including 222 to the US Air Force and a total of 32 C-17s to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.