Indian Air Force has initiated a proposal to purchase three more Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the US for about Rs 8,700 crore, impressed as it is by the cargo carrier's varied utility that includes carrying out of large-scale humanitarian assistance operations such as the ongoing relief effort in earthquake-hit Nepal.
The IAF has told the government that it wants to add three very heavy transport aircraft to its fleet of 10 C-17s that were ordered in 2011 and inducted in 2013, officials said.
The IAF has pressed the case for three more C-17s after being informed that only five of the heavy lift aircraft are left for sale as the US defence and aerospace firm has closed down the production line, officials said.
As per the 2011 contract, which was worth $4.7 billion, India had an option clause to purchase six additional C-17s over its order of 10 aircraft. However, a paucity of funds that hit the government in the past two years appears to be responsible for the scaled-down requirement assessment. The proposal will have to be approved by the Manohar Parrikar-led Defence Acquisition Committee.
Once signed, Boeing will be liable to invest Rs 2,600 crore in the Indian defence manufacturing sector as per the standard offsets rule of the defence ministry. C-17 has proved its utility, which has used the aircraft in several rescue operations including evacuation of thousands of Indian citizens and others in Yemen.