Ambassador N. Parthasarathi, Consul General of India, San Francisco said, “This momentous occasion, where we see India’s first C-17 take shape, further strengthens our growing relationship. As India strives to become a global reservoir of highly skilled and technologically sophisticated manpower, we will witness an escalating technology transfer, collaborative joint research and development, and co-production of defense items between our two countries.”
The guy I enjoyed listening to more was Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who subjected Pakistan to a tonguelashing, saying the Indian C-17 deal represented a step towards a joint fight against ‘radical Islam’ and Pakistan’s support of it (I’ve got his brief speech on video, and will upload it shortly). It stirred things up a bit in what was otherwise a light, formal affair :), also attended by India’s Air Attache Air Commodore Sanjay Nimesh.
The first of the ten Indian C-17s will be delivered to India in May-June 2013. All ten aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2014 and will be based out of Hindan Air Force Station on Delhi’s outskirts. The C-17 contract, worth $4.116-billion, does not have a formal options clause, though the IAF is contemplating contracting for 6-10 more aircraft once deliveries begin next year. For Boeing’s only big military airplane facility, it’s a precarious situation. The C-17 line will proceed to shut down by the end of 2014, which gives the IAF a fairly brief window to decide on follow-on orders. The IAF C-17 factors only a few small changes to the one being supplied to the USAF — these, presumably, are communications and CISMOA-protected equipment.
A batch of 20 IAF pilots and 10 loadmasters are currently undergoing contractual training at Altus, Oklahoma with the USAF.