Boeing delivered the 11th C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Hindon Air Force Station (AFS) on the outskirts of New Delhi on 26 August.
The aircraft, which is the last of 12 'white-tail' airlifters that Boeing built before closing down its C-17 production facility in Long Beach, California, in 2015, was acquired by the IAF in 2018 for USD336.2 million, including equipment and after-sales support.
The airlifter joins 10 other C-17s that are operated by the IAF's 81 'Sky Lords' Squadron from Hindon AFS. The previous platforms had been ordered in 2001 for US4.1 billion under the US Foreign Military Sales Programme (FMS), and began entering service with the IAF in 2013.
As with all the other operators of the C-17, the IAF's fleet is supported by Boeing via its Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) performance-based logistics contract that provides the IAF access to the US Air Force's (USAF's) support infrastructure.
The IAF has pointed out that the C-17 is capable of operating from short runways, and in March 2014 the service successfully landed one of them at the 1,240 m-high Tuting Advanced Landing Ground in north-eastern India, close to the country's disputed border with China.
Senior IAF officers said the airlifter can transport 74 tonnes of cargo or 150 fully equipped military personnel to a distance of 4,200 km.
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