Even as Boeing is eyeing to end production of C-17 Globemaster and close its final assembly line three months prior than originally anticipated, Indian Air Force has pressed for additional three such heavy lift aircraft.
The Indian Air Force 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 has initiated a proposal to the Indian Government to buy additional three Globemasters.
“IAF has pressed the case for three more C-17s after it was informed that only five such aircraft are left for sale as the US firm (Boeing) has closed down the production line,” Economic Times quoted unnamed officials as saying today.
India had an option to buy six additional Globemasters as per the 2011 contract which was worth $4.7 billion. The decision on buying the aircraft lies with Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar led Defense Acquisition Committee.
"Based on current market trends and the timing of expected orders, Boeing anticipates completing C-17 production in mid-2015, an adjustment of approximately three months from an initial estimate of late 2015," Boeing had said in a statement April last year.
"It takes a long time to build a C-17. The contractual cycle and the build cycle are long and so the decisions had to be made now," Boeing spokeswoman Cindy Anderson had said last year.
For its transport fleet, the Indian Air Force operates C-17 Globemaster III, Il-76, An-32, HS 748, Do 228, Boeing 737, ERJ 135, Il-78 MKI and C-130J for rescue missions.