NEW DELHI — The Indian Air Force ceremonially accepted the first of 10 U.S.-built C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in Washington on Jan. 24. The service contracted the aircraft from Boeing as a U.S. government foreign military sale, agreeing to pay more than $4.1 billion.
The aircraft that was handed over to the Air Force attaché at the Indian Embassy will go to a U.S. Air Force facility in California for further training and flight tests before it is formally given to the Indian Air Force in June. Under the agreement, nearly 100 Indian Air Force personnel will be trained in the U.S. to man the C-17.
Indian Defence Ministry sources said the Air Force needs additional C-17s to quickly transport troops and equipment between the Pakistani and Chinese border areas. The additional requirement for C-17s is part of India’s defense preparedness plan, which calls for the country to be able to fight Pakistan and China simultaneously, if necessary, the source said.
The C-17 can be used to rapidly airlift troops and cargo to forward positions and will be extremely useful for Indian military logistics, an Indian Air Force official said.
Currently, the Air Force’s transport fleet comprises 40 Russian-made Il-76s; more than 100 An-32s, which are being upgraded in Ukraine; and U.S.-built C-130 J transport aircraft.