India has once again deferred the purchase of the C-17 Globemaster heavy lift Transport Aircraft from the US. The request is a continuation of the last such extension by India, following which the US had given a grace period of until November 17.
The Indian government has once again asked the US to extend the validity of the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for the acquisition of a C-17 Globemaster heavy lift Aircraft by 120 days i.e. till mid-February of next year.
Sources told Sputnik that the Indian defense ministry had submitted a request for an extension of the validity of the LOA by 120 days after the date of expiry i.e. October 17, but it was extended by only one month.India's Defense Acquisition Council had approved the purchase of the heavy lift transport aircraft last December at cost of $366 million under the foreign military sale route while the US Department of State had authorized the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency to sell the aircraft to India in June this year. Since then, the acquisition has been in limbo as India has been dithering on the purchase.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently has 10 C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft for its major operations to lift armed personnel and equipment. Interestingly, the IAF had planned to buy three C-17 from the US in April 2015.However, the paperwork for this purchase took longer than anticipated and US manufacturer Boeing decided to sell four of the remaining five C-17s to Qatar. As the production of C-17 aircraft at Long Beach in California has ended, the IAF had to revise its purchase plan and settled on one C-17 transport aircraft.
India first signed a contract in 2012 to purchase 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 fulfill the terms of the contract. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) — India's apex auditing body — had found massive under-utilization of the aircraft.