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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Globemaster will be flown to India for trials in June

 THE HINDU

The Indian Air Force's quest to acquire a tactical heavy lift transport aircraft from the United States will get under way with user trials scheduled for next month in India.
In the last week of April, the U.S. Department of Defense notified Congress of a letter of request from the Indian government for acquiring 10 of Boeing Globemaster III.
Briefing a group of correspondents at its facility here, company representatives said the aircraft, to be taken on lease from the U.S. Air Force, would be flown to India by June 21.
“Unlike many other countries that have brought these aircraft, the Government of India insists on trials, and we will be there in June,” Tommy Dunehew, vice-president, Business Development, Boeing, told The Hindu.
The trials would be one part of a possible $5.8-billion deal, negotiations for which will begin only after Congress approves the sale. The product Boeing offers is the latest Block 18 aircraft, and much will depend on the configuration the IAF will want.
It is for India to decide whether it wants to join the worldwide virtual fleet Boeing has set up with other countries — Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, the UAE and the European Union consortium of 12 nations — that have bought these planes.
The IAF plans to base these tactical aircraft at Agra. They can carry 73,616 kg of payload and can be operated by a crew of just three (two in the cockpit and one loadmaster).
Delivery will begin 24 months after the contract is signed. At present, Boeing is producing one plane every three-and-a-half weeks, or up to 15 a year. Its current order book, including some 30-odd pieces for the U.S. Air Force, will run on till 2011. However, should India order these planes, the schedules will be negotiated, Mr. Dunehew said.
It is being deployed for disaster relief operations in various parts of the world. The U.S. Air Force has transported a brigade of men, tonnes of equipment and 400 vehicles over five nights, flying 17 shifts, he said, explaining the ability of the workhorse.
The plane can carry 188 passengers, has reverse thrust engines for short turnaround and equipped with missile warning system with flares to disengage the incoming missiles.

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