The U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale of one Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft, with an estimated cost of $366 million, Pentagon has said on Monday.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), part of the United States Department of Defense (DoD), said in a statement that it notified Congress on Monday of the sale. The contract includes four F-117-PW-100 turbofan engines, AN/AAR-47 missile warning system, a countermeasures dispensing system and AN/APX-119 identification friend or foe (IFF) transponder.
The proposed sale will improve India’s capability to meet current and future strategic airlift requirements. India lies in a region prone to natural disasters and will use the additional capability for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR).
The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently operates 10 C-17 airlifters and form the backbone of its Heavy Air Lift wing. They are based at Hindon Air Force Station near New Delhi and are operated by No. 81 Squadron IAF Skylords.
The original US$4.1 billion contract signed on February 2011 between IAF and Boeing for ten aircraft includes an option for six more. In 2012, the IAF reportedly finalized plans to buy six more C-17s in its five-year plan for 2017–22. However, this option is no longer available since C-17 production ended in 2015 and only one aircraft is for sale.
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military airlifter developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17s are able to perform tactical and strategic airlift missions, medical evacuation and airdrop duties. It was designed to replace the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, and also fulfill some of the duties of the heavier Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, freeing the C-5 fleet for outsize cargo.
Boeing continued to manufacture C-17s for export customers following the end of deliveries to the USAF. Apart from the United States, the C-17 is in service with the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, NATO Heavy Airlift Wing, India, and Kuwait. .
The story is published with inputs from Reuters.