Monday, July 5, 2010

IAF successfully test-landed a Boeing C-17

The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test-landed a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft at the Gaggal Airport in northern India on 23 June, ahead of acquiring 10 for an estimated USD5.8 billion to augment its strategic reach.

Leased from the US Air Force (USAF), the C-17 successfully touched down at Gaggal's 1317 m-long runway, some 500 km north of New Delhi, IAF officials said.

It had flown there from the IAF transport base at Agra, 200 km east of Delhi, where the C-17s being acquired to replace the IAF's fleet of a dozen-odd Russian-origin Ilushin Il-76 'Gajraj' transporters will eventually be based.

IAF officials told Jane's that the Gaggal landing "completed the C-17 trials" insisted upon by the air force, despite there being no other aircraft competing for the contract.

Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said last year that the IAF selected the C-17 for its ability to ferry 70-ton loads to a distance of 2,400 n miles and use short, even makeshift, runways at high altitudes.

However, negotiations for the aircraft - being acquired via the Foreign Military Sales route - would only begin once US Congress, notified about India's requirement two months ago, approved the sale depending on the configuration the IAF wanted

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