Washington, Oct 26 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) has received its Fourth Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, a large, versatile military transport aircraft capable of carrying heavy, oversize loads long distances and landing on rough and unprepared surfaces. Once India receives its full complement of ten aircraft, it will be the largest C-17 operator outside the US.
The plane departed for India Oct 19 from Boeing's Long Beach, California, facility keeping the company on track to deliver a total of five advanced airlifters to the IAF this year. Boeing will deliver five more C-17s to India in 2014 to complete the contract, the company said in a media release.
In operation since 1991, the C-17 has been used in humanitarian and military missions around the world and recently surpassed 2.6 million flight hours. Most recently, the IAF used its C-17s to support Cyclone Phailin relief efforts.
It can carry a cargo of wheeled US Army vehicles in two side-by-side rows, including the US Army's main battle tank, the M-1. Three Bradley infantry-fighting vehicles comprise one load. It can drop a single 60,000-lb. payload, with sequential load drops of 110,000 lb.
The transporter can seat 54 on the sidewall and 48 in the centreline. It can even back up a two-percent slope, the company said.
Boeing will complete production of the C-17 Globemaster III in the fourth quarter of 2015. In addition to the remaining C-17s for India, the company will build 15 more for other customers outside the US.
Boeing has delivered 258 C-17s, including 223 to the US Air Force and a total of 35 to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.