First C-17 to arrive in India shortly
The Indian Navy isn’t the only service that gets the bask in the glow of a brand new American-built bird. The IAF will soon welcome to India its first Boeing C-17 Globemaster-III heavy-lift transport aircraft, due to arrive shortly. The window of arrival is May-June, so teams are all set to ferry the first bird back to homebase, Hindon Air Force Station.
All 10 aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2014, by which time operations will already be in full swing. Batches of Indian pilots and loadmasters have been undergo- ing training with the US Air Force at Altus, Oklahoma, and will be the lead teams that bring in the C-17 into Indian service. Once deliveries begin this month or the next, the Indian Air Force will rapidly begin a process to determine whether it plans to buy 6-10 more aircraft from Boeing. Such a decision will need to be quickly made since manufacturing operations will begun winding down at Boeing’s Long Beach facility towards the end of 2014, and it will need firm orders to keep such a massive facility open. Sources indicate the IAF has already conveyed to the government that it would require at least 20 C-17s for meaningful operations on the type, and given its responsibilities.