June 15, 2010
NEW DELHI — India will start field development trials with Boeing’s C -17 heavy-lift transport in two weeks, according to Tommy Dunehew, vice president
for global mobility systems at Boeing Defense, Space & Security (DSS).
“We have submitted the offset proposal and the draft letter of acceptance from the U.S. is expected to come this summer,” an official said.
India’s ministry of defense had sent a letter to the U.S. government requesting a Foreign Military Sales purchase of 10 C -17s. Boeing also has completed a series of C -17 demonstration flights in India. Delivery will start two years after the letter of agreement is signed. Boeing also is in discussions with Indian paramilitary forces looking at purchasing C-17s.
Boeing is looking at fulfilling the 30% in offsets that would be required for the deal through joint ventures in training and support, manufacturing, IT, support equipment and services.
India’s current transport fleet has 40 Russian-made IL-76s and more than 100 Soviet-built AN-32 cargo aircraft. The AN-32s are currently undergoing mid-life refurbishment under a joint project with Russia’s Irkut.
Boeing has been keen to offer India the C -17, which can carry large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields. “The C -17 fits in well with India’s operational requirements,” says Vivek Lall, vice president and
head of Boeing DSS in India.
A senior Indian air force official says the aircraft was chosen after a thorough study because of its range, ease of operation and capability to take off and land on short runways with heavy loads.
Boeing is also participating in trials for India’s acquisition program for 22 combat- and 15 heavy-lift helicopters this summer. This is a second issue of tenders for attack helicopters, as an earlier tender released in 2008 was