The US aerospace major Boeing has been maintaining IAF’s C-17 fleet through techno-logistics support and training for aircrew that operate the platform.
Soon after Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15, 2021, C-17 Globemaster, the largest transport aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) was deployed to evacuate Indian citizens from that country.
The C-17 Globemaster undertook several sorties to bring back Indian citizens including the diplomats and other personnel of the Indian Mission and Consulates. Also those evacuated included Afghan Sikhs and Hindus and other nationals including Nepalese.
Sources confirmed to Financial Express Online, “The IAF had deployed C-17 Globemaster III of Boeing Company and C-130 J transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin to evacuate the Indian citizens and Afghan Sikhs and Hindus. These transport aircraft were off from India’s first overseas airbase in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.”
The Gissar Military Aerodrome (GMA), popularly known as Ayni Airbase, has been in news recently as all the evacuation flights were operating from the base which has been built by India. Funded by the Ministry of External Affairs, this was the most critical base for the evacuation sorties carried out by the IAF. This base is being jointly administered by India and Tajikistan.
More about C-17 Globemaster III
The C-17 has been an important part of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) strategic and combat airlift capability and have performed a varied range of operations in military missions, and provided peacekeeping support, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in India and internationally, since induction to the Sky Lords squadron in 2013.
In 2009 the IAF had selected the C-17s for its requirement of ‘Very Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft’. The USD 4.1 billion contract was signed in 2011 for 10 C-17 Globemaster III.
According to officials in the IAF, the first C-17 Globemaster was inducted in 2013. Today the IAF has a fleet of 11 C-17 Globemaster IIIs, in 2019; the 11th C-17 was inducted. With 11 in its fleet, outside the US, India became the biggest operator of these aircraft in the world.
Which other countries have the C-17 in their Air Force?
Besides India and the US, the UK (8), Canada (5), Australia (8), the UAE (8), Kuwait (2), Qatar (8), and a 12 nation Strategic Airlift Capability Consortium (3).
Who is responsible for the maintenance of these C-17s?
The US aerospace major Boeing has been maintaining IAF’s C-17 fleet through techno-logistics support and training for aircrew that operate the platform. The C-17 fleet has maintained high serviceability rates since its induction. The American company is responsible for maintenance, field support services, modifications and upgrades, technical manual support and logistics engineering services. Also, the company’s C-17 Simulator Training Center provides training services to the IAF.
Boeing’s Global C-17 support program is a Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) contract designed to provide the United States Air Force (USAF) and international partners with maximum aircraft availability while optimizing affordability, and lowest sustainment risks for all C-17 support elements.
The company’s C-17 training centre in India has completed thousands of training hours for aircrews and loadmasters for the Indian Air Force.
This aircraft, a force multiplier for militaries across the globe is a high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed aircraft and has a rear-loading ramp.
According to the details posted on the company’s website, the aircraft has the capability of carrying large combat equipment and troops. And can also undertake humanitarian aid across the world directly to small airfields.
The first flight of C-17 was September 15, 1991 and is now no longer manufactured.
The IAF has been using these aircraft for military and evacuation of Indian citizens, transporting Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) cylinders and other medical supplies.
And during the standoff between the armies of India and China in Eastern Ladakh, since April 2020, the heavy tanks, army personnel as well as armoured carriers were airlifted there on board C-17s.