Viv S wrote:Debate about military affairs is a good thing for a democracy. The problem begins when someone starts calling such procurements 'sell-outs' to the US. That's why the point is made, that this purchase was recommended and advocated for, by the IAF. Most people will have no qualms questioning the government's loyalty, but even they'd balk at questioning the IAF's priorities. In the armoured forum, the posts are by and large critical of the IA's recent orders for the T-90, but very few blame it on Russian 'influenced' elements in the government.
India's C-17 interest has to be taken in context.
India already operates 17 large IL-76 heavy airlifters which easlily have another 20 or 30 years left in them if they are upgraded. There have been unsubstantiated claims here that the IL-76 are at the end of their service life which I do not think is true. If that is true of India, what about the hundreds of Il-76s on Russian Air Force inventory many of which are older then the 1986-1988 era IL-76s in India?
The Il-76 is no small aircraft. It has about the same take-off weight as the Boeing 767-400ER, a 375 passenger aircraft if operated in single class. The 767-400ER is called a HEAVY WIDE-BODY aircraft.
A C-17 on the other hand, is about the same weight as a B-777-200ER, an aircraft that can haul 440 passengers in single class configuration. It is a bit larger than the B-767-400ER, but not by a large margin.
Also, the Indian interest in C-17s comes in the wake of ridiculous C-17 "purchases" elsewhere.
The US Congress is imposing C-17s on the US Air Force which no longer wants any.
Tiny Qatar which buys 2 of them. Does anyone here really think Qatar NEEDS C-17s?
Tiny UAE, which barely even has an Air Force, which orders 6 C-17s! Can anyone on this Forum claim with a straight face that the UAE Air Force needs those 6 C-17s? If not, why are they being purchased?
What are these countries going to do with Strategic Airlifters?
In late 2003, the Canadian Minister of National Defence of the time John McCallum made a speech in which he said the following:
In terms of demonstrating responsible management, I have made it crystal clear that Canada will not be unilaterally purchasing strategic airlift for the Canadian Forces.
Only two NATO nations, the US and UK, have this capability. For a country of Canada's size, it is simply not an efficient use of resources. Over the past six fiscal years, Canada has spent approximately $107 million on strategic airlift, an average of $18 million per year.
This is but a mere fraction of the annual interest on the cost of our own strategic airlift – let alone the capital cost. And no one has yet been able to give me a single instance where the absence of this capability stopped us or significantly delayed us moving people or equipment from point A to point B.
I note with pleasure that the department has already signed a contract to airlift armoured vehicles to Kabul – just two working days after the decision to send those vehicles was taken.
By removing strategic airlift from the SCIP, we free up money measured in the billions of dollars for more important investments.
In February 2006, the Liberal government to which John McCallum belonged was replaced with the more pro-American Conservative government of Stephen Harper (who as opposition leader wanted Canada to join the US in the war in Iraq) and five months later Canada had placed an order for 4 C-17s.
Its in such a context that some people claim that the Indian interest in C-17s is politically motivated.
As for the military, regardless of what country they are from, if they are offered bigger, more modern toys to play with, that they do not have to pay for out of their own budget, they never refuse. What head of the Air Force will refuse free F-22 fighters? What head of the Navy will refuse free nuclear powered attack subs or nuclear powered aircraft carriers?
But tell that same head of the Air Force "we are about to give you 5.8 Billion dollars of new C-17s, but in exchange you have to cancel 5.8 Billion dollars of previously agreed fighter purchases" and you will hear a bunch of objections.