New Delhi: Unconfirmed reports would have it that the Indian ministry of defence is negotiating the purchase of Boeing's C-17 Globemaster Heavy-Lift aircraft from the United States through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. The reports peg the deal at $1.7 billion for the purchase of 10 of these aircraft.
This may be an anomaly, for the aircraft cost $250 million apiece and the US Congress has sanctioned $2.5 billion this October for 10 of these heavy-lift transporters for the US Air Force. If the figure of $1.7 billion is correctly mentioned then it is not clear how such a huge discount will be made available.
It's a separate story that this is an aircraft that the US Department of Defence does not want for itself anymore.
|Photo: US Air Force|
Recently, the US Air Force flew the Globemaster in a joint air-lift exercise between the air forces of the two countries held in India. Held in Agra, in the period 19-23 October, the US Air Force let the Indian Air Force familiarize itself with the transport craft.
India already operates a fleet of 40 Ilyushin-76 'Gajraj' heavy lift transporters of Russian origin and will be adding an entirely new bird to its transport fleet at three times the comparable cost.
Reports suggest that the defence ministry is quite taken up with the Globemaster's ease of handling, as compared to the IL-76, and its ability to operate from short and rough airstrips.