Boeing delivers world's last C-17 Globemaster to IAF

Last Updated 26 August 2019, 15:48 IST

Boeing on Monday delivered the world's last C-17 Globemaster to the Indian Air force, which would now be having a fleet of 11 such heavy-lift transport aircraft.

With the aviation major shutting down its C-17 assembly line, it was the last of the 275 of these aircraft that can carry large combat equipment, troops and humanitarian aid across long distances, directly to austere airfields anywhere in the world, in all weather conditions.

In December 2016, India decided to purchase the final C-17 aircraft from the USA through a government-to-government deal. As Boeing decided to close its C-17 production line, it was left with five aircraft, four of which were sold to Qatar.

The new aircraft will add to the existing inventory of 10 C-17 that New Delhi purchased at a price of $ 4.1 billion in 2011. While the price of the 11th aircraft wasn't officially disclosed, it is learnt that the last C-17 cost the exchequer around Rs 2,700 crore.

Impressed by the C-17 performance, the IAF initially wanted to purchase six more of them using the follow-on option in the contract, but later tweaked their demand to three aircraft at a cost of more than Rs 8,000 crore.

But because of the red tapes within the defence ministry, even that proposal wasn't processed within the time window provided by Boeing, which had a pre-determined schedule to shut down the assembly line.

“India is the largest operator of the C-17 outside the United States. The C-17 fleet has been a vital part of the IAF strategic and combat airlift capability since induction to the Sky Lords squadron in 2013,” Boeing said in a statement.

“With this delivery, there are 275 operable Boeing-built C-17s around the globe. Boeing plans to sustain them to ensure they meet the mission at hand,” it added.

(Published 26 August 2019, 15:31 IST)

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