Mighty Jet touches down
First Boeing C 17 Globemaster III for IAF arrives on schedule

C-17 Globemaster
C-17 Globemaster

The Indian Air Force (IAF) flew its first Boeing C 17 Globemaster III (Tail No CB-8001) home last month on June 18. The Globemaster III in IAF colours touched down at Hindan Air Force Base (AFB) and Air Marshal S. Sukumar, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (DCAS) received the IAF’s newest heavlifter.

The IAF’s first C-17 was handed over to it on June 11, following the completion of its flight test programme at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California. The test programme had been underway since its January 22 delivery, earlier this year. 10 C 17’s have been ordered by the IAF and the remaining nine aircraft will be delivered by August next year (four more in 2013 and five in 2014 to complete the order). The United States Air Force (USAF) is conducting training of 20 pilots and 10 loadmasters along with ground crew at Altus, Oklahoma. The induction of the C 17 Globemaster III will substantially enhance the IAF’s heavylift capability with its outstanding payload and performance capability.

A key difference between IAF and USAF C 17’s, is that IAF aircraft do not come fitted with Northrop Grumman’s Large Aircraft Infra-Red Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system. The LAIRCM system is a defensive system that combines a Missile Warning System (MWS) along with Infra-Red (IR) and Laser jammer countermeasure systems. Apart from this and other India specific items, Indian C 17s have a 99 per cent commonality with USAF aircraft according to Boeing. India’s C 17s will also have the most advanced flight deck available on the C 17 fleet worldwide because of constant upgrades and improvements made to the flight deck by Boeing. All support facilities for the C 17 will be at its home base at Hindon and the IAF has signed a performance-based contract with Boeing that will optimise aircraft availability. Mark Angelo, director, operations, Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) elaborated on the maintenance aspects, when FORCE visited Boeing’s Long Beach plant to observe the ‘Major Join’ of the IAF’s first C 17. According to Mark, “Boeing will be accountable for aircraft availability. We provide technical order support and this documentation is constantly updated, spares requirements are also updated constantly. India will receive the latest configuration and Pratt and Whitney looks at the engine. There will be an engineer based at Hindon.” The IAF has indicated that its aircraft will fly approximately 500 hours a year (USAF C 17s fly about 1,000 hours per year).

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