India and the US have finalised a contract for 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster-III heavylift transports. The IAF is likely to quickly exercise options for six more airplanes as well. The contract will be signed shortly, though there are no indications of precisely when. While an official figure hasn't been released yet, it is expected to exceed $4-billion, and become India's single most expensive military purchase from the US so far. The C-17s will be built at Boeing's facility in Long Beach, California. I visited the C-17 facility in 2008 -- will post photos and more info later.
These are beautiful airplanes, but there's been a lot of debate about whether India really needs 10 C-17s. Notwithstanding the IAF chief's assertion
that the selection was a considered one (and not foisted onto the IAF for political reasons), there's still a view that the IAF would rather have spent the ~$4-billion on material of more immediate priority.
As always, do post your thoughts.Photo ©Copyright US Air Force / By Staff Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts
Labels: AIR FORCE, Aircraft And Helicopters, DEFENCE PROCUREMENTS, UNITED STATES-RELATED