Boeing Awarded Contract to Deliver Final C-17A to Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) first C-17A Globemaster III, CB-8001, landing on Runway 22L at Edwards Air Force Base, California, ON January 22, 2013. The aircraft was being delivered to the USAF’s 418th Flight Test Squadron for two months of routine flight testing. A contract was awarded to Boeing yesterday to supply the final unsold C-17A to the IAF. USAF/Jet Fabara

INDIA HAS at last finalised its acquisition of the last available ‘white tail’ Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, the purchase of which had been in doubt for some time due to the country’s own lengthy approval processes, as previously reported on Warnsey’s World.  Yesterday, March 30, Boeing was awarded a $262 million not-to-exceed, undefinitized Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract by the US Air Force Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to provide for delivery of the aircraft to the Indian Air Force.

An initial $2 million in FMS funds was released at the time of the award.  The aircraft, N272ZD (c/n 50273/F-272, USAF/14-0003), has been in storage at Boeing’s C-17 maintenance and modification facility (formerly the US Air Force Kelly Air Force Base Air Logistics Center) in San Antonio, Texas, since it rolled off the production line in 2015.  It will now be modified to an India unique configuration at San Antonio, where work is due to be completed by August 22, 2019, following which it will be delivered to the IAF.

India had been extremely keen to buy this aircraft and, after beating off competition from Australia and Qatar, on June 26 last year the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) announced that approval for its sale to India had been granted by the US State Department.  Although a Letter of Offer and Acceptance was then signed for the aircraft, its validity had initially been due to expire on October 17, 2017.  This deadline was reluctantly extended several times by the US, which was keen to complete the deal, while India’s cumbersome bureaucracy continually failed to give the go-ahead for the purchase.  The contract award, however, indicates that these problems must finally have been overcome.

The IAF currently operates ten C-17As, serials CB-8001 to CB-8010, all flown by 81 Squadron ‘Skylords’ and based at Hindon Air Force Station, Ghaziabad, as part of Western Air Command’s 28 Wing.  The additional aircraft is epxcted to join them as serial number CB-8011.