Boeing says IAF keen to acquire 10 C-17 aircraft

Boeing says IAF keen to acquire 10 C-17 aircraft

New Delhi: US aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co said on Friday the Indian Air Force is keen to acquire 10 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, in a deal which Indian defence ministry officials said is potentially worth more than $2 billion.

“Boeing is very pleased that the Indian government has expressed interest in acquiring the C-17 to modernize its airlift capabilities, and we look forward to working closely with them," Vivek Lall, India country head of Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems, said in a statement.

Boeing said the US government has received a letter of request from New Delhi.

“The final (deal) price will change once you take the additional costs, including landing gears and maintenance contract into account," a senior defence ministry official said.

The C-17 is a heavy-lift aircraft, capable of carrying large combat equipment and troops, Lall said.

India is looking to spend more than $50 billion over the next five years to modernise its armed forces and largely Soviet-era equipment, especially after the 2008 November Mumbai attacks revealed security loopholes.

Boeing, which is eyeing the Indian defence market, has already submitted two proposals to the Indian Air Force, offering AH-64D Apache and CH-47F Chinook helicopters in a deal worth $2 billion.

India signed a separate $2.1 billion contract with the company last year to procure eight P-8I aircraft for its navy, which Boeing officials say New Delhi wants to be delivered by 2013.

Last August, New Delhi began field trials to buy 126 fighter jets in a $10.4 billion deal to modernise its air force.

Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, France’s Dassault Rafale, Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-16, Russia’s MiG-35, Sweden’s Saab JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, produced by a consortium of European companies, are in the race for the contract, one of the biggest in play.