Wednesday, September 22, 2010

India Plans To Buy 10 US-Made Heavy Transport Planes

India plans to sign a deal with the United States to acquire ten heavy transport planes worth US$3.5 billion, China's Xinhua news agency quoted local media as reporting on Wednesday.

The negotiations to procure ten U.S.-made C-17s for the Indian Air Force (IAF) have reached the final stage, and an agreement is likely to be signed during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to India in November, the Indian newspaper Economic Times reported.

It will be the largest defense deal between India and the United Stated, and each C-17 will be priced at about US$300 million except its spares and maintenance costs.

In 2009, India signed a US$2 billion deal for acquiring eight U.S. newly-designed P-8 long range maritime reconnaissance planes.

If the agreement is signed, India will become the country with the largest C-17 fleet outside the United States, said an official of C-17 maker Boeing.

The IAF wants those C-17s to replace its aging Russian-made transport planes. At present, the IAF's transport fleet comprises 24 IL-76s and more than 100 AN-32s. IL-76 is the IAF's primary transport plane, and has a maximum range of 3,600 km with a maximum payload of 45 tonnes.

Ten C-17s will provide the IAF with much stronger capabilities of the strategic airlift. C-17 is the U.S. Air Force's most advanced long-range heavy transport aircraft.

It could carry a maximum payload of more than 70 tonnes for a range of over 4,000 km without refueling. If carrying 45 tonnes, it could reach 7,400 km without refueling.

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