India Wednesday sealed its biggest $4.1 billion deal with the US for 10 Boeing C-17 heavy-lift aircraft by signing a formal agreement on this, the aerospace major said.
Boeing said in a statement that India will take delivery of the Globemaster III aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route of the US government in 2013-14.
"India's ministry of defence has signed an agreement with the US government to acquire 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifters," the statement said.
India's cabinet committee on security (CCS) last week gave its go ahead for the deal. The US Congress had approved the sale in May 2010.
With this contract, India has become the largest international customer of C-17s, which can carry a payload of 75 tonnes and can land and take off from airstrips of 3,000 feet.
"The C-17 will elevate India's leadership in the region," Boeing India's president Dinesh Keskar said in the statement.
"With its tactical and strategic capabilities, the C-17 fulfills India's needs for military and humanitarian airlift. The important transaction reaffirms our close relationship of several decades with India and also highlights our commitment to the strategic partnership between the two countries," he said.
"This agreement is a reflection of the outstanding partnership India's ministry of defence has with the US Air Force, which worked very hard to help India strengthen its airlift capabilities with the C-17," Jean Chamberlin, Boeing Mobility vice president and general manager, said.
"The aircraft's ability to transport large payloads across vast ranges, land on short, austere runways, and operate in extremely hot and cold climates makes it ideal for the region," she added.
Boeing will support India's C-17 fleet through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership (GSP), a multinational performance-based logistics programme, the company said.
The GSP "virtual fleet" arrangement ensures mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers - with varied fleet sizes - access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale when purchasing materials.
"Boeing is pleased that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has selected the C-17 to support its airlift mission," Boeing Defence, Space and Security vice president for international business development Mark Kronenberg said.
"We look forward to partnering with India as we move forward with the agreement's 30 percent offset program, which will help strengthen India's aerospace and defense capabilities," he said.
During rigorous field evaluation trials in India last June, the C-17 met all of the IAF's airlift requirements, the company statement said.
A tactical and strategic airlifter, the C-17 can land combat-ready troops in remote locations or airdrop them directly where needed. The C-17's ability to back up allows it to operate on narrow taxiways and congested ramps.
Boeing has delivered 232 C-17, including 22 to international customers. The US Air Force - including active and reserve National Guard units - has taken delivery of 210 C-17s. Other customers include the Royal Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, the 12-nation members of Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace, and the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence.