Union Defence Minister AK Antony on 2 September 2013 formally inducted IAF's biggest 70-tonneheavy-lift transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster III into service at the Hindon Air Base near Delhi.
The C-17, with a capability to carry around 80 tonnes of load and around 150 fully geared troops, will replace the Russian IL-76 as the biggest aircraft in the IAF inventory till now. The IL-76 had the capability to carry loads upto around 40 tonnes.
The aircraft is expected to enhance the operational potential of the IAF with its payload carriage and performance capability and would augment the strategic reach during disaster relief or any similar missions. This will also help in bolstering the IAF's capability to swiftly transport combat troops and equipment such as tanks to the front. The aircraft will be inducted into the newly-formed 81 Skylord Squadron.
The C-17 Globemaster III aircraft has been procured from the US under a deal expected to be over 20000 crore rupees. The C-17 plane will be operated from the advanced landing grounds in the north-eastern states as well as from high altitude bases in north and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The IAF has placed orders with the US for ten C-17 aircraft under the deal signed in 2011 and three of them have already been delivered. The US Air Force is scheduled to complete the delivery of all the 10 planes by the end of 2014.
This aircraft will enhance the operational potential of the IAF with its payload carriage and performance and would augment the strategic reach of the nation during Operations, Disaster Relief or any similar mission. The induction of the C-17 is a major milestone in the modernization drive of the IAF.
Presently three aircrafts have been delivered and are operational. The newly inducted C-17 Squadron (81 Squadron) will be based in Hindan.
Who: Indian Air Force
When: 2 September 2013