India becomes eighth nation to operate C-17

India has officially received its first Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport, becoming the eighth nation to operate the type.

New Delhi will receive four more C-17s this year, and the remaining five in 2014, says Boeing. This will make New Delhi the second largest operator of the C-17 after the USAF.

After taking delivery of the aircraft, the Indian air force crew departed for India.

New Delhi finalised its almost $1.8 billion Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal for 10 C-17s in June 2012, with the purchase aimed at giving its air force the second largest fleet of the type in the world, behind the US Air Force’s current 218-strong fleet. The UK currently holds this status, with its Royal Air Forceoperating eight of the type.

“Congratulations to the Indian Air Force on this milestone as India joins the worldwide community of C-17 operators,” says 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.”

In addition to the C-17s, New Delhi is also likely to buy six additional C-130J tactical transports, doubling the Indian air force’s fleet numbers of the type to 12 and has options for six additional C-17s.

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