April 22, 2021
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Flying support
Modernizing heavy lift platforms

India is in the process of replacing its military heavy lift capability to be able to manage, with some credibility, the emerging two-front war situation all along its Himalayan borders from Jammu and Kashmir in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east.

The Indian Air Force has already acquired 12 C-17 Globemaster III and  similar number of C-130J aircraft for Special Forces operations from the US, thereby augmenting exponentially the tonnage that can be delivered to the forward edge of battle on fixed-wing carriers.

Hitherto the ex-Soviet refurbished and modernized Ilyushin Il-76s were the mainstay of the resupply and maintenance of troops in their forward outposts. The last-mile delivery was either done by utility helicopters like the Cheetah and Chetak and Dhruv or by mules and manpack from parachute drop zones. The Ilyushins and Antonov An-32 are still in service and likely to remain for another decade. This is in indicator of how much medium-heavy lift capacity is available with the Indian Air Force.

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