India Takes Delivery of First 4 Engines for Its Boeing C-17s

On 10JUL12 American aeroengine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corporation, reportedly delivered the first four F117 engines for the Indian Air Force to power its fleet of Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft.

In a $4.1-billion deal in mid-2011, India’s Ministry of Defence had signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the US government in a foreign military sale to acquire 10 C-17s. India will take delivery of its first C-17s in mid-2013.

“Pratt & Whitney is pleased to deliver the first four F117 engines for the Indian Air Force’s C-17 program,” said the firm’s Bev Deachin, vice president, Military Programs and Customer Support.

“We look forward to a continued partnership with India as we complete the remaining F117 engines to fulfill this contract.”

Four F117s provide exclusive power for the C-17 Globemaster III, the heavy airlifter.

The F117-PW-100 is the sister engine of Pratt & Whitney’s PW2040 commercial engine, which powers the Boeing 757.

With more than 50 million hours of military and commercial use, the F117/PW2037 has been fitted into 244 C-17s, including 28 to international customers. The U.S. Air Force – including active National Guard and Reserve units – has taken delivery of 216 C-17s.

Other customers include the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force, the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations, and the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence.

Pratt & Whitney designs, manufactures and services of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Connecticut, is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

India plans to base its C-17 fleet at the Hindon air base in Ghaziabad which is within the national capital region.

As a side note: Back in 2010, the C-17 was supposedly put on the chopping block by the US Congress as cutting the program would have saved $2.5 billion. However, the program was also funding about 5,000 jobs in Long Beach which pushed California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to try and save the program. She succeeded in getting 10 more aircraft funded in  2010 and with India’s order in 2011, the program had been saved yet again.

In the trade off, India was able to get something good out of the offset deal which reportedly includes a High Altitude Engine Test Facility and Trisonic Wind Tunnel Facility valued at $510 million, for the Defence Research & Development Organisation. (India’s access to advanced technology air tunnel would be important as it has depended on Russian test facilities to evaluate the indigenous Kaveri jet engine, which was to be used in the LCA project.)

The other half of the offsets, according to the proposal, would be shared between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for training and maintenance for the aircraft, Tata Consultancy Services for defence strategic communication systems and Defence Land Systems — a joint venture between Mahindra Group and BAE Systems — for armoured vehicles.

(The original proposal had talked of Boeing fulfilling its obligations under the Defence Procurement Procedure “as per policy” and hence, the offset was not stated. Under the DPP, any foreign company bagging contract worth over $300 million has to invest back at least 30 per cent of it into the Indian defence sector.)

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