NEW DELHI --- American aerospace giant Boeing on Monday delivered the 11th C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The plane is also the last C-17 produced by the company.
India, which paid $262 million for the last jet, grabbed the contract with Boeing for the aircraft despite jostling for the same with Qatar and Australia in March 2018, which were also vying for the last airframe of the jet.
"Boeing today delivered the 11th C-17 Globemaster III adding to India's capability to meet current and future strategic airlift requirements", the company said in a statement.
Nevertheless, the last jet, along with the 10 others, is not equipped with high-end encrypted communication equipment, including the SINGCARS radio system, TACTERM secure voice terminal, and a handful of other pieces of equipment.
Since their induction in 2013, the IAF C-17s have performed a wide range of operations in military missions and provided peacekeeping support, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief across a variety of terrain.
The IAF has deployed C-17 aircraft near the Chinese border and one of them had actually landed at the Tuting Airfield 29 kilometres away from the Line of Actual Control. Tuting is a part of a disputed swathe of land claimed as South Tibet by China and Arunachal Pradesh by India.
"Boeing is responsible for maintenance, field support services, modifications and upgrades, technical manual support and logistics engineering services", the company added.
India first signed a contract for the 2012 purchase of 10 C-17 aircraft at a cost of $4.1 billion with an option for a follow-up offer to purchase six additional aircraft. India did not opt for the follow-up offer because Boeing did not fulfil the terms of the contract.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) — India's apex auditing body — had found massive under-utilisation of the aircraft.