Mightiest Transport Aircraft Of The Indian Air Force

Hello Defence Lovers, Indian Air Force is the 4th largest in the world, just behind USA, Russia and China. Indian Air Force aircraft or military cargo aircraft are typically fixed wing and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to airlift troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside the commercial flight routes in uncontrolled airspace. India has a vast collection of variety aircraft in its military. All disasters are not wars and combat aircraft can’t fulfill the requirements of all the conditions. Some military transport aircraft are tasked to perform multi-role duties such as aerial refueling and, rescue missions, tactical, operational and strategic airlifts onto unprepared runways, or those constructed by engineers. Here, the transport aircraft of the Air Force comes to the rescue. In this article we bring you some of the mightiest transport aircraft of the IAF.




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(1.)  Boeing C-17 Globemaster III :

  • The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft.
  • It was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas.
  • The C-17 is 174 feet (53 m) long and has a wingspan of about 170 feet (52 m). It can airlift cargo fairly close to a battle area.
  • The C-17 is powered by four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines, which are based on the commercial Pratt and Whitney PW2040 used on the Boeing 757.
  • Each engine is rated at 40,400 lbf (180 kN) of thrust. The engine’s thrust reversers direct engine exhaust air upwards and forward, reducing the chances of foreign object damage by ingestion of runway debris, and providing enough reverse thrust to back the aircraft up on the ground while taxiing.
  • In June 2009, the Indian Air Force (IAF) selected the C-17 for its Very Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft requirement to replace several types of transport aircraft.
  •  In January 2010, India requested 10 C-17s through the U.S.’s Foreign Military Sales program, the sale was approved by Congress in June 2010. On 23 June 2010, the Indian Air Force successfully test-landed a USAF C-17 at the Gaggal Airport, India to complete the IAF’s C-17 trials.The aircraft provides strategic airlift and the ability to deploy special forces, such as during national emergencies.
  • They are operated in diverse terrain – from Himalayan air bases in North India at 13,000 ft (4,000 m) to Indian Ocean bases in South India.
  • The Skylords regularly fly missions within India, such as to high-altitude bases at Leh and Thoise.
  • The IAF first used the C-17 to transport an infantry battalion’s equipment to Port Blair on Andaman Islands on 1 July 2013.
  • Foreign deployments to date include Tajikistan in August 2013, and Rwanda to support Indian peacekeepers.
  • One C-17 was used for transporting relief materials during Cyclone Phailin.
  •  The fifth aircraft was received in November 2013.The sixth aircraft was received in July 2014.
(2.) Ilyushin Il-76 (Candid) :

  • Known as the Gajraj (King Elephant) in the IAF, the IL-76MD forms the strategic/heavy transport fleet.
  • The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) is a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed by the Soviet Union’s Ilyushin design bureau.
  • It was designed to deliver heavy machinery to remote, poorly served areas.
  • Military versions of the Il-76 have been widely used in Europe, Asia and Africa, including use as an aerial refueling tanker or command center.
  • The Indian Air Force operates 24 Il-76s, including 17 Il-76MDs, six Il-78MKIs, and three Beriev A-50 for AEW&C.
  • The aircraft was first conceived by Ilyushin in 1967 to meet a requirement for a freighter able to carry a payload of 40 tons (88,000 lb) over a range of 5,000 km (2,700 nmi; 3,100 mi) in less than six hours, able to operate from short and unprepared airstrips, and capable of coping with the worst weather conditions likely to be experienced in Siberia and the Soviet Union’s Arctic regions.
  • An estimated 28 aircraft are in service in two squadrons. Deliveries to the IAF began in 1985 and they were used in the Maldives in 1987 and in Sri Lanka during 1987-1990 to great effect.
Also Read, All You Need To Know About The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Of Indian Defence




(3.) C-130J Super Hercules :

  • The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft.
  • The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems.
  • The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history.
  • The Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules is the world’s most advanced airlifter. Starting with the C-130J’s first flight on April 5, 1996, the worldwide Super Hercules fleet literally soared past an amazing milestone -—1 million flight hours — on April 30, 2013.
  • These hours were contributed by 290 C-130Js, representing 13 different operators, including the IAF.
  • During these 1million hours, hundreds of thousands of troops were transported from their homes and families, to support freedom and help others.
  • The aircraft combines the latest in aerospace technology with a proven, rugged airframe design, resulting in an aircraft that gives an operator more capability and options with greater operational efficiency.
  • The C-130J-30 Super Hercules provides the Indian Air Force with modern and effective airlift to support a wide range of national requirements.
  • In keeping with Indian Air Force requirements, the U.S. Government provided a unique C-130J modified for special mission roles.
  • The aircraft is able to perform precision low-level flying, airdrops, and landing in blackout conditions.  Special features are also included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defense environments.
  • The aircraft also is equipped with air-to-air receiver refueling capability for extended range operations.
  • Shortly after the aircraft’s induction in 2011, one of the IAF’s Super Hercules first missions was a deployment to support relief operations in Sikkim after the massive earthquake in the treacherous Himalayan mountain region.
  • This marked the first time a C-130J had ever landed in the region.
  • In June 2013, the IAF deployed one of its C-130Js to evacuate 244 people stranded in Uttarakhand by paralyzing floods in the area.
  • In August of the same year, the aircraft was in the news again when a Veiled Vipers squadron crew landed a Super Hercules at Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip.
  • The C-130J has successfully operated for the past several years in the mountainous areas of Afghanistan and performed exceptionally well, and it is clearly doing as well in India.
(4.) Hawker Siddeley HS 748 :

  • The Hawker Siddeley HS 748 is a medium-sized turboprop airliner originally designed by the British firm Avro in the late 1950s as a replacement for the aging DC-3s then in widespread service as feederliners.
  • The induction of the AVRO 748 aircraft type in India was the result of the drive of just one man. This is now a part of the history of the country’s aviation industry.
  • The first HS-748 manufactured at the IAF facility in Kanpur was titled ‘Subroto’ in the memory of late Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee. This aircraft was flown by the Author on its first test flight.
  • The 748 during its service with the Indian Airlines has had a very distinguished safety record.
  • Avro concentrated on performance, notably for STOL operations.
  • Currently 59 aircraft in service, it is also a tactical transport aircraft in the IAF.
Also Read, Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee : Legend Of Indian Air Force




(5.) Antonov An-32 :

  • The Antonov An-32 (NATO reporting name: Cline) is a twin-engined turboprop military transport aircraft.
  • Indian Air Force bought 125 aircraft, 105 are still in service. Entire fleet is undergoing modernization; 35 upgraded An-32s have been delivered by Ukrspetsexport.
  • The upgrades include modern avionics equipment, new oxygen systems and improved crew seats. The remaining aircraft are being upgraded in India.
  • The An-32 has excellent take-off characteristics in hot and high conditions, elevation suitable for use as a medium tactical military transport roles as well as commercial roles.
  • Operating as a cargo transport over the short and medium range air routes, the An-32 is suitable for air-dropping cargo, passenger carrying, medevac, firefighting, skydiving or paratrooping roles.
  • The aircraft has a high maneuverability for flights to mountain based airfields with difficult approaches.
  • The main aircraft purpose is to transport cargoes over short and medium range air routes.
  • It can be used for carrying military personnel, aerial delivery of paratroopers and palletized and non-palletized cargoes.
  • Its ambulance version can be used in missions of Emergency Ministry.
(6.) Dornier Do 228 :

  • The Dornier Do 228 is a twin-turboprop STOL utility aircraft, manufactured by Dornier GmbH (later DASA Dornier, Fairchild-Dornier) from 1981 until 1998.
  • In 1983, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) bought a production licence and manufactured 125 aircraft for the Asian market sphere.
  • Approximately 270 Do 228 were built at Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany and Kanpur, India.  In August 2006, 127 Dornier Do 228 aircraft (all variants) remain in airline service.
  • The Do-228 was bought in to fill in a Light Transport Aircraft requirement within the armed forces.
  • For the IAF, the LTA was to replace existing DHC-3 Otter and the DH Devon aircraft which were used for communication and liason flights.
  • Over the years, HAL had produced 83 aircraft at its Kanpur facilities.
  • It is still producing the aircraft at a rate of four to six aircraft per year.
  • The Dornier 228 is a twin-engine general purpose aircraft, capable of transporting up to 19 passengers or various cargos.
  • It is powered by a pair of Garrett TPE331 turboprop engines.
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(7.) Boeing 737 :

  • The Boeing 737 is an American short- to medium-range twinjet narrow-body airliner.
  • Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing’s 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of ten passenger models with capacities from 85 to 215 passengers.
  • The most famous aircraft manufacturer of USA, Boeing’s planes are widely used in the IAF for VIP transport.
  • The close relationship between Boeing and India goes back approximately 70 years, when Tata Airlines flew DC-3s.
  • India possesses 4 Boeing 737 in active military service.
(8.) Embraer ERJ : 

  • The Embraer ERJ 145 family is a series of twin-engine regional jets produced by Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace company.
  • Family members include the ERJ 135 (37 passengers), ERJ 140 (44 passengers), and ERJ 145 (50 passengers), as well as the Legacy business jet and the R-99 family of military aircraft.
  • The ERJ 145 is the largest of the group. Each jet in the series is powered by two turbofan engines.
  • The family’s primary competition comes from the Bombardier CRJ regional jets.
  • The ERJ-145 was designed for a perceived new market for regional jet aircraft, where the increased speed, comfort and passenger appeal would outweigh the inherent fuel economy of the turboprop aircraft which were in service and in development.
  • Apart from the IAF, it is also used by India’s Border Security Force.
  • There are currently 8 Embraer ERJ in service with India.
Jai Hind

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