Washington: The first of 10 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) is all set to enter a US Air Force flight test programme at Edwards Base in Palmdale, California.
Boeing delivered India's first C-17 on Tuesday at its facility in Long Beach, California, and is on track to deliver four more C-17s to the IAF in 2013 and five in 2014, the company said in a media release.
"The C-17 met the stipulated airlift requirements of the Indian Air Force when it flew field evaluation trials in India during June 2010," said Air Commodore Sanjay Nimesh, Air Attache at the Embassy of India.
"It was exciting to see the C-17 fly again, this time with Indian Air Force markings, as the airlifter completed its first-flight milestone on Jan 11. We look forward to the day that the first IAF C-17 flies over India."
"The C-17's ability to operate in extremely hot and cold climates; transport large payloads across vast ranges; and land on short, austere runways makes it ideal for India's airlift needs," said Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 programme manager.
"We value our continued partnership with India and the US government and will provide dedicated support as India's first C-17 enters flight testing."
India signed an agreement with the US government on June 15, 2011, to acquire 10 C-17 airlifters, making India the largest C-17 customer outside the US.
Boeing will support the IAF C-17 fleet through the Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Programme (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics contract, Boeing said.
The GISP "virtual fleet" arrangement ensures mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale, it said.