Los Angeles, June 6 IANS) The US Air Force (USAF) will get its 199th C-17 Globemaster-III strategic lift aircraft June-end.
The aircraft has successfully been test flown and is due for delivery to its designated squadron, a company spokesman told India Strategic.
The aircraft was shown to an Indian media team recently at its Long Beach manufacturing facility as part of Boeing’s efforts to showcase the capability of this aircraft to various countries for possible sale.
The latest version of the aircraft is marked Block 18, and that is what is on offer to India.
The C-17 programme will end in about five years, just after Boeing delivers the last and 223rd of this highly successful strategic lift aircraft to the USAF, and some others to international customers.
The production is being slowed to keep the manufacturing facility going for some time longer, just in case there are more orders, particularly in view of the aircraft’s utility in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief role.
According to Tommy Dunehew, Vice President, Boeing’s Global Mobility Systems, Boeing is committed along with the US Government to support and service the aircraft for their lifetime, say another 30 to 40 years. The spares will be produced amply for a global supply chain.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to buy 10 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to replace and augment its fleet of 17 Soviet vintage IL 76 aircraft which should retire in about 10-15 years.
IAF acquired the first lot of its six IL 76 aircraft in April 1985. The IL 76 is now out of production, although Russia has been able to sell some of its second-hand machines after refurbishing them to some countries.
India with its order for 10 C-17s is the largest non-US customer, followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which ordered six of these aircraft last year.
India should get its fist C-17 in about two to three years after signing the Letter of Acceptance (LoA) with the US government, now that US Congressional approval has been accorded to the Indo-US deal in this regard.
Dunehew said that normally, it should take about three years to deliver an aircraft. But if India wanted, the delivery period could be cut short as Boeing could request other customers to delay their deliveries.
Notably, barring an odd case of pilot error or attacks in combat, the aircraft has never had any accident, said Dunehew.