Four more C-17s later this year and five in 2014

Unfazed by the grounding of the B-787 Dreamliners in India and abroad, Boeing on Wednesday announced it had delivered on schedule the first of 10 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

India’s first C-17 will now enter a U.S. Air Force flight test programme at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California. Boeing is on track to deliver four more C-17s to the IAF this year and five in 2014, the company said in a statement issued here.

“The C-17 met the stipulated airlift requirements of the IAF when it flew field evaluation trials in India during June 2010,” the statement said, quoting Air Commodore Sanjay Nimesh, Air Attaché at the Embassy of India in U.S. “It was exciting to see the C-17 fly again, this time with IAF markings, as the airlifter completed its first-flight milestone on January 11. We look forward to the day that the first IAF C-17 flies over India,” the statement added.

“The C-17’s ability to operate in extremely hot and cold climates, transport large payloads across vast ranges, and land on short, austere runways makes it ideal for India’s airlift needs,” Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice-president and C-17 programme manager said.

India signed an agreement with the U.S. on June 15, 2011, to acquire 10 C-17 airlifters, making India the largest C-17 customer outside the U.S.

The governments finalised the Foreign Military Sales contract for the airframe on June 6, 2012. Boeing has delivered 250 C-17s worldwide, including 218 to the U.S. Air Force’s active duty, Guard and Reserve units.

A total of 32 C-17s have been delivered to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K. and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.

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