LONG BEACH - The first of 10 Boeing Co. C-17 Globemaster III airlifters bound for India flew out of the company's East Long Beach assembly plant this week and headed to Palmdale, where it will enter a U.S. Air Force flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base, according to Boeing.
"The C-17 met the stipulated airlift requirements of the Indian Air Force when it flew field evaluation trials in India during June 2010," Air Commodore Sanjay Nimesh, Air Attaché at the Embassy of India, said in a statement. "It was exciting to see the C-17 fly again, this time with Indian Air Force markings, as the airlifter completed its first-flight milestone on Jan. 11. We look forward to the day that the first IAF C-17 flies over India."
India is one of several foreign customers that have purchased in C-17s for humanitarian, disaster relief and peacekeeping missions, an order that has allowed the company to extend the life of the assembly line that employs more than 4,000 people in Long Beach and thousands of jobs associated with 650 suppliers nationwide.
At 174 feet long and with a 169.8-foot wingspan, the four-engine planes are valued for their cargo capacity, their versatility and their ability to land on remote airfields in rough terrain.
India became the largest C-17 customer outside the United States after India's Ministry of Defence inked a $4.1billion contract with the U.S. government to purchase 10 of its airlifters in June 2011. Boeing plans to deliver four more C-17s this year and five in 2014 to the Indian Air Force, according to the company.
This is the 250th C-17 Boeing has delivered internationally.