Boeing [NYSE: BA] today in Long Beach integrated the forward, center and aft fuselages and the wing assembly of India's first C-17 Globemaster III during the airlifter's "major join" ceremony. Embassy, senior Indian Air Force and local elected officials drove ceremonial rivets into the aircraft as they celebrated the achievement of this key program milestone.
India's Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the U.S. government on June 15, 2011, to acquire 10 C-17 airlifters, making India the largest C-17 customer outside the U.S. Those governments finalized the Foreign Military Sales contract for the airframe alone on June 6.
"The defense relationship between India and the United States is an important dimension of our strategic partnership," said Ambassador N. Parthasarathi, Consul General of India, San Francisco. "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."
"This is a proud day for the highly skilled Boeing workforce and our newest customer to celebrate a major production milestone," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing Airlift vice president and C-17 program manager. "We are preparing for India’s first C-17 to enter flight test on schedule early next year, and we look forward to providing for India's current and future needs and continuing to support C-17s long after they are delivered."
Boeing has delivered 245 C-17s worldwide, including 217 to the U.S. Air Force active duty, Guard and Reserve units. A total of 28 C-17s have been delivered to Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.Asian Defence News