On Tuesday, Boeing confirmed that after completing pre-delivery flight testing, it has transferred ownership of the first C-17 to Indian ownership, making India the latest country to incorporate the giant transport into its air force. Boeing expects to deliver four more C-17s to India before this year is out, and to complete its production run with the final five deliveries next year.
A high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed military-transport aircraft, the C-17 can take off from short runways of as little as 7,600 feet in length and land on runways as short as 3,000 feet. It can fly 2,400 miles without aerial refueling -- flying longer with refueling -- and carry as much as 80 tons of cargo. It is big and powerful enough to carry three Bradley armored vehicles aboard it, or even a full-size Abrams main battle tank.
To date, Boeing has delivered 254 C-17s worldwide, including 222 to the U.S. Air Force and 32 more to allied nations 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 -- and now India as well.