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By Kendra Ablaza, Staff Writer
January 23, 2013 - The first of 10 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters made for the Indian Air Force (IAF) was delivered to its flight test by Boeing yesterday.
The airlifter arrived at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, Calif for its U.S. Air Force flight test program and is scheduled to return to Long Beach and be “handed-off” to the IAF in June, Boeing spokeswoman Cindy Anderson said. Boeing is scheduled to deliver four more C-17s to the IAF this year, and another five in 2014.
The U.S. Government and India’s Ministry of Defense signed an agreement for the IAF to acquire the airlifters on June 15, 2011. This agreement makes India the largest C-17 customer outside the United States, according to a statement by Boeing.
“The C-17’s ability to operate in extremely hot and cold climates; transport large payloads across vast ranges; and land on short austere runways makes it ideal for India’s airlift needs,” said Boeing Vice President and C-17 Program Manager Nan Bouchard in the statement. “We value our continued partnership with India and the U.S. government, and will provide dedicated support as India’s first C-17 enters flight testing.”
Boeing has delivered 250 C-17s around the world. These include 218 to the U.S. Air Force active duty, guard and reserve units, while 32 have been delivered to Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the NATO and Partnership for Peace nations’ airlift initiative.