Washington, June 12 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) has flown home its first Boeing Globemaster III, becoming the newest operator of the leading airlifter, giving it the world's most advanced humanitarian and strategic capabilities.
The first aircraft was transferred to IAF in Long Beach, California, Tuesday after completion of a flight test programme at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California, that began following the Jan 22 delivery.
Boeing is on track to deliver four more C-17s to the IAF this year and five in 2014, the St. Louis, Missouri headquartered Boeing Defence, Space & Security, a unit of the Boeing Company, said in a media release.
"The C-17 will equip the Indian Air Force with amongst the world's most advanced humanitarian and strategic capabilities," said Air Vice Marshal SRK Nair, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Transport and Helicopters).
"We have looked forward to this day when our Indian Air Force flies the first C-17 to its new home in India."
"Congratulations to the Indian Air Force on this milestone as India joins the worldwide community of C-17 operators," said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing vice president of Business Development for Mobility, Surveillance and Engagement.
"Nations turn to the C-17 for the capability to perform a wide range of operations, from peacekeeping and disaster relief to troop movements from semi-prepared airfields. This aircraft will provide the Indian Air Force with the versatility to augment airlift capability."
Boeing will support the IAF C-17 fleet through the Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Programme (GISP) performance-based logistics contract.
The GISP "virtual fleet" arrangement ensures mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale.
Boeing has now delivered 254 C-17s, including 222 to the US Air Force and a 32 C-17s to India and a few other nations.