India beefs up its strategic aircraft capability

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After much hullabaloo over last month’s pictures of China’s Y-20 strategic transport aircraft, Boeing announced the delivery of India’s first C-17A Globemaster III aircraft for flight testing at Edwards AFB in Palmdale, California.

The January 23rd press release indicates Boeing is on track to deliver an additional four C-17A before year’s end. The remaining five will have a 2014 delivery date, completing the $5.8 billion contract signed in June 2011.

The contract—which follows the arrival of the sixth and last C-130J Hercules from Lockheed Martin in December 2011–will see India become the second largest operator of the C-17 heavy lift aircraft only after the United States.

As such, many defense analysts continue to point to these contracts, inter alia, as key drivers for deepened US-Indo relations despite inherently complicated US export controls, and what are often viewed by Indian defense observers as diluted offset agreements for technology transfer.

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IAF issues RfP to Honeywell for Jaguar engines

Jane’s, among others, reports the Indian Air Force (IAF) dispatching a request for proposals (RfP) on 15OCT12 to Honeywell Aerospace for 270 F-125IN turbofan engines for installation on its fleet of 125 SEPECAT Jaguar ground-attack aircraft. (A version of the F-125 is already used to power Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Fighter.)

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Indian Air Force to induct first killer drones

On 04OCT12, the Economic Times, among others reported on the IAF’s plans of inducting the Israeli made Harup loitering munitions system into its ranks. (The UCAV is also known as the Harpy-2 loitering munitions missile, as the drone loiters over the battlefield and attacks the targets by self-destructing into them.)

“The UCAV are expected to join us by next year enhancing our firepower in both conventional and low intensity conflict,” a senior IAF official told reporters of PTI.

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