Bolstering IAF’s capability to swiftly transport combat troops and equipment such as tanks to the front, Defence Minister A K Antony will today formally induct its biggest 70-tonne C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft into service at the Hindon Air Base near here. The Defence Minister will formally induct the aircraft procured from the US under newly-formed 81 ‘Skylord’ Squadron here, IAF officials said here. The American 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 IAF has placed orders with the US for ten such aircraft under the deal signed in 2011 and three of them have already been delivered.
The US Air Force will complete the delivery of all the 10 aircraft by the end of next year.
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.
After the completion of the 10 aircraft, the IAF may also exercise the option of procuring six more planes for its fleet.