Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
April 27, 2010
NEW DELHI — The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency formally notified Congress on April 22 of the possible foreign military sale (FMS) of 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to the Indian Air Force.
India’s defense ministry had sent a letter of request to the U.S. government for the C-17s via the FMS process (Aerospace DAILY, Jan. 11).
Boeing’s Jan. 8 statement followed immediately after an United Arab Emirates announcement of plans to purchase six C-17s.
While the official notification to Congress lists the potential value of the deal as $5.8 billion, the actual cost will be based on Indian air force requirements. The amount represents the highest possible estimate for the sale, including all potential services offered.
While the final figure has yet to be negotiated, the Indian sale may also include training for air crew and maintenance personnel and training equipment, spares, test and ground-support equipment, technical assistance, engineering services, specific modifications and logistical and technical support.
In November 2009, the U.S. Air Force flew the C-17 in Agra in a joint-lift exercise.
India’s current transport fleet has 40 Russian-made IL-76s and more than 100 Soviet-built AN-32 cargo aircraft. Six Lockheed Martin C-130Js are on order to be delivered in 2011.
The AN-32s are currently undergoing midlife refurbishment under a joint program with Russia’s Irkut.
With a payload capacity of around 160,000 lb., the C-17 can take off from a 7,600-ft. airfield, fly 2,400 nm and land on a small, austere airfield in 3,000 ft. or less. It is equipped with an externally blown flap system that allows a steep, low-speed final approach and low-landing speeds for routine short-field landings.
“The potential sale of C-17s strengthens the growing partnership between our two countries, and demonstrates our enduring commitment to sharing the world’s best technology with India,” U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer said about the potential deal. “India is a leading partner in our efforts to promote regional stability, peace and economic growth.”
The U.S.-India defense partnership is moving speedily with New Delhi having selected Boeing to provide eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian navy.
The C-17 — the workhorse of the U.S. Air Force transport fleet — has proven highly reliable in the harsh environments of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Indian Air Force will use the C-17s to modernize India’s armed forces with new cargo capabilities.