While the Indian government has already approved the acquisition of ten C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift aircraft in June this year from US, the contract for aircraft maintenance and upgrades between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Boeing has been pegged at $ 469 million. According to sources, the modified contract was put into effect due to a foreign military sales (FMS) requirement for Boeing's C-17 Globemaster III airlifters.
The actual contract to provide the services such as maintenance and upgrades of the C-17 Globemaster to India is between Boeing Company and Defence Department. The Boeing Company is being awarded the $ 469 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for the IAF C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership Program. This move incorporates support of the IAF aircraft into the "virtual fleet” which is an international program that provides C-17 customers with comprehensive logistics support, including spare parts, support equipment, technology orders, sustainment engineering, and on-site field teams. This feat is attained by using shared resources across the entire global fleet, providing all C-17 customers access to the same support services.
India has become the C-17 Globemaster III airlifter’s largest international customer as it will acquire ten of the strategic airlifters from Boeing. The Indian Defence Ministry signed a contract with the U.S. government to acquire 10 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters for roughly $ 4.1 billion. According to the then Air Chief Marshall P.V.Naik, more C-17 Globemaster III would be added at a later date. The current deal will have an offset value of 30 per cent and the deal stipulates that Boeing will plough back $ 1 billion into India as the offsets obligation. One of the major advantage of the offsets under this programme is assistance by Boeing to set up an approximately $ 500 million engine testing wind tunnel for jet engines with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The project will enable Indian scientists to develop jet engines since the indigenous capacity to develop such core technology is limited.
The C-17 Globemaster aircraft is being offered in its latest US Air Force configuration, duly customized as per IAF requirements. C-17 Globemaster can carry a payload of 75 tonnes and can land and take-off from airstrips of 3,000 feet. A tactical and strategic airlifter, the C-17 can land combat-ready troops in remote locations or airdrop them directly where needed. The aircraft is ideal for India due to its ability to transport large payloads across vast ranges, its ability to land on short runways and operate in extremely hot and cold climates.
The main aim of acquiring the C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift aircraft is to replace the Soviet era IL-76 heavy lift aircraft with the IAF. While the vintage IL 76 heavy lift aircraft would last approximately till 2020, and the induction of the C 17s during this period would be a timely replacement. India has less than 20 IL 76 for dedicated transport role, while there are six midair refuellers designated IL-78. IAF has to replace the old aircraft, and also augment its capability, and capacity, in accordance with the current and emerging security situation in the region. India will take delivery of its C-17 Globemaster in 2013 and 2014.