India’s hopes of procuring three Boeing C-17 aircraft appear bleak

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on November 30, 2015


Aviation giant says it has only one aircraft for sale now after it ended production at its California facility

Marking the official end of its aircraft production in California, the last Boeing C-17 Globemaster III left the Long Beach Assembly Facility on November 29, flying over a crowd before heading to the company’s San Antonio location, where it will remain until delivery to the Qatar Emiri Air Force early in 2016.

The Indian Air Force was hoping to procure three Boeing C-17 aircraft that were cleared for purchase in August, but the prospects appear bleak as the aviation giant has only one C-17 aircraft available for sale now, according to sources

A Boeing Defense, Space & Security representative confirmed to Business Line that there was one unsold aircraft with the company at its San Antonio location, and that all the remaining C-17s had been taken up by other customers.

In addition to the C-17s it built for the US Air Force, the company has delivered over three dozen aircraft to Australia, Canada, India, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, the UK and the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability.

India’s Ministry of Defence had signed a $4.7-billion agreement with the US government in June 2011 to acquire 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifters. The sale, approved by the US Congress in May 2010, had established India as the C-17’s largest international customer.

Sources indicated that as per the contract, India had an option clause to purchase six additional C-17s over the 10 it had ordered, but the follow-on order was not processed due to paucity of funds. “This April, Boeing had five C-17 aircraft to sell. India should have fast tracked the order for the three aircraft,” said sources. They added that unless there are C-17 order cancellations or the US government accommodates India from the US Air Force inventory, there are remote chances of India receiving the three C-17s.

Boeing’s decision to end production of the C-17 production programme was announced in 2013. The aerospace giant formally ended production of the C-17 with a rollout of the final transport on Sunday.

With the completion of C-17 production, Boeing has said it would continue to provide support, maintenance and upgrades to the worldwide C-17 fleet under the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Programme Performance Based Logistics agreement.

The aircraft has been used to transport people and cargo and has flown more than 3 million hours since it first took to the skies in 1991. In India, the C-17s have been useful in transporting military cargo and in humanitarian operations.

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Published on November 30, 2015
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