April 23, 2017
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Air bridges
Heavy lift and transport aircraft

Military transport aircraft are vital workhorses for modern armies but everything about the acquisition of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster heavy transport aircraft by India through the US Foreign Military Supplies route was tinged with hurry. The Indian Air Force selected the aircraft in June 2009. In February 2011 the IAF and Boeing agreed to terms for the sale of ten aircraft with option to buy six more later. The Cabinet Committee on Security approved the purchase on 6 June 2011. The first India-owned C-17 landed at Hindon airbase in June 2013 and was immediately put to work. Such are the dynamics of a nation that has deprived itself of the infrastructure to confront its potential enemies. The option for six more was exercised. And six more have been ordered bringing the total to 22 aircraft. The sixth aircraft arrived at Palam airport on 27th July.

The Boeing Globemaster is a reputed aircraft but there are others that can do the same job of lifting heavy material and personnel at least three times faster. One such is the Antonov-124 (the 100M-150 variant) which can carry a load of‘1.5 lakh kg over a distance of 5,200 km. A
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