Folks - let me state my personal view.
The IL 76 had its first flight in 1971 and production was stopped in 1997
Production of the C-17 really took off only in the late 1980s. The C-17 uses technologies that cannot be applied to the Il 76. The C 17 uses flap blowing (a type of thrust vectoring) to achieve lift at very slow speeds.
It also has thrust reversing that makes it possible to back up and reverse in small airfields. And the Il 76 is incredibly noisy.
And (I need to confirm this) - the C 17 has a cargo cabin wide enough to accommodate even the Arjun. Those of you who have read the story (on BR) of how the IAF transported T 72s to Leh in the Il 76 will know how dicey it was. Imagine an a/c that can do that with relative ease.
Finally the C 17 slow speed performance up close is superlative. Check the video (from Aero India) - watch those flaps taking the exhaust gases and diverting them down 2 min 30 onwards
Just my 2 cents.
C-17 is a great aircraft and it offers a plethora of great neat features. It is one of the most flexible air lifter ever.
But the C-17 is hideously expensive. It offers all these features at such a high price. US capped the production at 191 rather than the original 280. UK could not acquire more than 6, Australia acquired 4, and some others in few numbers. These purchases were done under US pressure to keep the C-17 line alive. They even launched a C-17 Sustainment program. Each plane costs nearly 225 million dollars (2006 prices). With spares and other stuff it is coming to nearly 340 million dollars a plane.
In fact there was huge criticism in UK, that for the short term strategic lift, they could have used the AN-124 which was certified one year before the C-17. The brits bought C-17 because of US pressure.
90% of C-17's features are hardly ever used. The back up capability was shown to work on paved surfaces and causes engine damage on grass or dirt. Even though C-17 is marketed as being able to perform tactical operations, but in reality it is more of a strategic lifter than tactical lifter. If we wanted to buy a huge strategic lifter, we might as well go for a few An-124. which are way cheaper than C-17
Infact at this price C-17 seems to suffer from some disadvantages compared to low technology aircrafts like the An-124 in the strategic realm. Although the AN-124 has greater payload, greater range, greater volume, greater floor area, greater cabin ceiling, greater cabin width than a C-17 and costs half the price, it seems that the sole area in which the C-17 can claim an advantage over the AN-124, the runway performance, was sufficient to disqualify the AN-124 in favour the C-17. Its runway performance compared to An-124 is better at gross loads which is 70 tonnes for C-17 and 120 for An-124.
For tactical transport, We should have gone for more just plain jane less expensive C-130 or upgraded IL-76 . I dont know how many C-17 we can afford.
In fairness, for a while it was looking like C-17 would be a dead programme. If it wasn't for the dribs and drabs of orders Long Beach has managed to eke out from the Canadians and others, the line would have been closed by now given the reluctance to give USAF any more a few years back. There was news in 2007, that C-17 line would end in 2009, I think now we are keeping american jobs alive.http://today.reuters.com/news/articlein ... panyNews-2
At 300 million dollars we can buy a brand new phalcon, or about a regiment worth of S-400's or probably equip a brand new Su-30MKI squadron. I just hope they spend these dollars on some thing worth while. I smell something wrong in the C-17 deal. When all the great friends of US did not buy it in any reasonable numbers whay are we buying them.
Daal me kuch kala hai. Guys dont get angry
Good post with lot of data-
Some disagreement corrections-
India signed a deal for 2 Squadrons of Su30MKI with Russia in 1996 for $1.8 Billion. So a squadron of MKI cost us $900Million in 1996. Today it'll cost us well over a billion dollars.
A Phalcon on IL76 now costs ~$500+ MM if recent cost increase for follow-on orders are correct. Also Phalcon manufacturer is promoting C17 Globmaster as the best and most optimum platform for Phalcons.
IAF constituted an expert group to study the available transporters against it's requirements. They concluded that C17 offers best solutions for its cost. Recently Indian armed forces especially IAF has changed its acquisition strategy to look at comprehensive lifecycle cost instead of looking at the upfront capital costs alone. They also are looking very carefully and comprehensively on equipment uptimes, ease of handling, accident rates, automation, state of the art, after sales support, future upgrade potential and MTBO/repair etc rather than leave all these aspects to be dealt later. I think that's where C17 more than justifies its costs for IAF. They have changed their strategy because India can afford to pay higher upfront cost and still acquire sufficient number of aircrafts.
Unless we have these detailed numbers any comparison of upfront capital cost remains useless. I have seen figures for life cycle cost that range anywhere between 2x to 6x of upfront purchase cost. So any comparison that leaves out life cycle cost, equipment uptime etc is probably not going to be correct.
You have two option either trust the competence and integrity of IAF committee or don't trust it.