IAF keen on six more Boe­ing C-17s

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

With a suc­cess­ful in­duc­tion of three Boe­ing C-17 Globe­mas­ter III heavy-lift trans­ports into Hin­don’s 81 Squadron ‘Sky­lords’ last week, the In­dian Air Force (IAF) is now hop­ing for an early con­clu­sion of a fol­low-on deal for six air­craft. Top sources in­di­cate that the process, which was be­gun un­der for­mer IAF Chief Air Chief Mar­shal P.V. Naik, is now be­ing pushed through, with the IAF con­vey­ing to the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) that un­less the process is be­gun with the United States’ De­fence Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (DSCA), In­dia will lose the op­por­tu­nity to place or­ders for ad­di­tional air­craft, since the dead­line for fresh or­ders from Boe­ing’s Long Beach fa­cil­ity ex­pires by early next year.

While the IAF had ide­ally wanted 10 more air­craft, an as­sess­ment of squadron re­quire­ments, as­set de­ploy­ments, etc has brought the num­ber down to six. With a to­tal of 16 air­craft, the IAF will split eight air­craft be­tween two squadrons, the sec­ond to be raised un­der the East­ern Air Com­mand. The C-17 plat­form will also be used soon for air­drop­ping and land­ing at the Daulat Beg Oldie air­field, af­ter an as­sess­ment is con­ducted of the fea­si­bil­ity and pos­si­bil­ity, given that it will be the largest air­craft ever to land at such a high al­ti­tude.

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