The Indian Air Force’ (IAF) plans to acquire three additional Boeing C-17 transport aircraft may not be possible as Boeing is left with only one aircraft after it sold four of them to Qatar in June.
Boeing has halted the production line after it expressed to shut it down in April three months prior than originally anticipated. Boeing had five C-17 aircraft to sell when the air force first moved the proposal in April.
Qatar signed an agreement with Boeing for the purchase of four additional C-17 Globemaster III airlifters in June. With the signing, Boeing is left with only one aircraft for sale.
“IAF might look at aircraft from the US inventory or retracted orders of a third country which are unlikely. A solution cannot be ruled out, they said, given that the deal is being processed under the Foreign Military Sales pact,” Economic Times news daily quoted unnamed officials as saying Monday.
The IAF C-17 Globemaster has been extensively employed in evacuation and rescue operations ever since India bought 10 of them in 2013. The Globemasters have had 100 or more sorties in the last two-three years saving thousands of lives in Jammu and Kashmir floods, Yemen evacuation and most recently Nepal earthquake relief effort.
Impressed with the cargo carrier’s ability to deliver humanitarian aid and rescue stranded people operations IAF had initiated a proposal to the Indian government to buy additional three Globemasters.
India had an option to buy six additional Globemasters as per the 2011 contract which was worth $4.7 billion.
Russian Ilyushin IL-96 and Lockheed Martin C-6 Galaxy are other options for buying for IAF in case it is not able to acquire the Globemasters.