August 17, 2015

IAF clears proposal to buy three C 17; Boeing says only one plane left to sell

The Indian Air Force appears to have taken too long to push through a Rs 8,100 crore proposal to buy three newBoeing C-17 transport aircraft. The American manufacturer simply does not have that many aircraft to sell anymore, having pledged four of the last five C-17s in its production line to Qatar.
After months of efforts, the air force, at a Services Capital Acquisition Plan meeting on July 31, managed to push through the proposal to add three aircraft to its existing fleet of 10 Boeing C-17s that were ordered in 2011. Officials said the proposal is likely to be taken up by the high powered Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) shortly.
However, Boeing officials have gone on record to say that after signing the contract with Qatar the company is left with just one C-17 for sale. With its production facility for the aircraft at Long Beach in shut-down mode, the company has already halted the production line.
Boeing had five C-17 aircraft to sell when the air force first moved the proposal in April, as ET had first reported.
Officials said the air force could get committed aircraft from US inventory or retracted orders of a third country, but the chances of this happening are slim. A solution cannot be ruled out, they said, given that the deal is being processed under the Foreign Military Sales pact.
In April, the air force had impressed upon the government the need to induct three more of the very heavy transport aircraft because the planes have been involved in several rescue operations, including aid to earthquake hit Nepal, since their induction in 2013.
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 ten. However, a paucity of funds never saw the follow-on order being processed.


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