US airlifter lifts the mood a bit

US airlifter lifts the mood a bit

The visibly subdued flight and static display at the Aero India 2013 expo had almost as a compensation the huge Boeing C-17 strategic airlifter for flight testing.

That the Indian Air Force had recently received its first C-17 was a point emphasised by the US Ambassador to India, Nancy Powell, as she stood for the US Pavilion ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Yelahanka airbase here on Wednesday.

The pavilion had an array of US aerospace biggies, showcasing flying machines of all hues and cutting-edge technologies. Powell saw this as a sign of Indo-US defence relationship growing at a strong pace.

“C-17, C-130J, and P81 procurements are now being executed. In 2011, the first C-130Js proved vital to the Government of India’s all-weather humanitarian relief requirements during the Sikkim earthquake,” she said.

Addressing the American firms, she said, “The US government understands the challenges the industry faces with the pace of contract negotiations and programme execution, the complexity of executing offset obligations, and obstacles to transfer of technology.

We are working with the Government of India and the private sector in both India and the US to reduce these obstacles and overcome challenges.”

Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell, Esterline, Bell, GE Aviation, Sikorsky and American Aerospace Industries Association, and other US companies have set up pavilions as a part of the Aero India show. Several US military aircraft are participating in static and flying displays at the show.

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