New Delhi: In an interaction with a defence magazine Indian Air Force chief, air chief marshal PV Naik, has said that the air force will opt for an additional six Boeing C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft, over and above the 10 that have been ordered. At a later date, "we will add some more," he said without disclosing the number.
The Indian government has just announced its decision to order 10 C-17s for $4.1 billion. The deal has been cleared under the US government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme and it would be confirmed once the Indian government signs the agreement and the US government issues what is called the LoA, or Letter of Acceptance.
The LoA is expected, possibly by mid-June.
Reports suggest that the IAF may eventually end up ordering eight additional aircraft, over and above the original order for 10.
In a major revelation the IAF chief said that under the offset programme for this deal Boeing will help set up an approximately $500 million engine-testing wind tunnel for jet engines with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The air chief said that this project should go a long way in helping Indian scientists develop jet engines.
Indian defence scientists are hamstrung by their inability to completely master sophisticated engine core technology. Foreign vendors are not interested in sharing secrets about this technology either.