The US Congress has been notified by its Defense Security Cooperation Agency on April 22 of the possible sale of ten Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to the IAF.
Although the official notification to Congress lists the potential value as $5.8 billion, this represents the highest possible estimate for the sale, and includes all potential services offered. The actual cost will be based on IAF requirements and has yet to be negotiated.
The IAF shortlisted the C-17 Globemaster III as its new very heavy lift transport aircraft (VHTAC) and will use the aircraft to modernise its cargo capabilities. This is a step forward in the US foreign military sales (FMS) process and is a necessary prerequisite to negotiations on the deal. The aircraft should come in about three years after a contract is signed.
According to an official release from the US embassy New Delhi, after hearing about the notification, US Ambassador to India, Timothy J Roemer, said, The potential sale of C-17s strengthens the growing partnership between our two countries, and demonstrates our enduring commitment to sharing the worlds best technology with India. This sale will offer economic benefits for both India and the US and will likely include significant job creation in both countries. India is a leading partner in our efforts to promote regional stability, peace and economic growth.
The C-17 is the workhorse of the US Air Force transport fleet and has proven highly reliable in the harsh environments of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Earlier this year New Delhi had submitted a letter of request to the US government for the possible acquisition of up to 10 Boeing C-17 strategic transports, with the move forming part of a programme to replace its air force's aged AN-32s and Ilyushin Il-76s.
An advanced version of the Il-76 was also considered to meet future requirements, but the defence ministry sources say the C-17 was the preferred choice.
Announcing the development, Boeing said it believes The C-17 can fulfill India's needs for military and humanitarian airlift to help it meet its growing domestic and international responsibilities. India has already improved its air transport capabilities, with its air force also to acquire six C-130Js from Lockheed Martin under a $1- billion deal signed in 2008.
Aerospace power will be crucial in future: Antony
The recently demonstrated precision strike capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF) would go a long way in ensuring the national security, according to the government.
Addressing the top brass of the IAF in New Delhi, defence minister AK Antony said, Aerospace power will prove to be crucial in future conflicts . In the years to come, aerospace power will prove to be the decisive factor in shaping the outcome of conflicts. IAF is in the process of transforming itself into a strategic aerospace force befitting our national growth and aspirations. Combat units of the IAF have focused on precision capabilities to enhance their combat potential. These abilities were amply demonstrated at the recently concluded Exercise Vayushakti. The day, dusk and night operations with live firing, bore ample testimony to the nations capability to tackle any threat.