The Indian Air Force is all set to acquire 10 Boeing-made C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft to enhance its strategic airlift capabilities. The new freighter plane will be inducted in the IAF as its new very heavy lift transport aircraft (VHTAC). India intended to procure the aircraft from the US through the Foreign Military Sales route which would come at a cost of around $5.8 billion (over Rs. 25000 crore). The IAF is acquiring the C-17 Globemasters in order to replace its ageing fleet of AN-32 and Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft it procured from Russia in the 1980s. The Ilyushin Il-76 is a four engine heavy duty/long haul military transport plane capable of flying at a maximum speed of 850 km/hr. It has a twin 23 mm cannon in tail turret and capacity to carry 225 paratroopers or 40 tonnes freight, wheeled or tracked armoured vehicles. The AN-32, a twin engine turboprop, medium tactical transport aircraft, can carry five crew and 39 paratroopers or a maximum load of 6.7 tonnes. The aircraft can fly at a speed of 530 km/hr.The IAF at present has a fleet of 24 Ilyushin Il-76s and over 100 AN-32s. The Il-76 is also being used as the IAF's mid-air refuelling aircraft, as well as its AWACS platform.The C-17 Globemaster III is a high-wing, four engine cargo plane capable of carrying payloads up to 72 tonnes (160,000 pounds). With a cargo cabin measuring 88 ft (26.82 m) by 18 ft (5.48 m) by 12.33 ft (3.76 m), the aircraft can accommodate up to 18 cargo pallets, 144 troops, 102 paratroops, or 48 litters.The plane, with midair refuelling capability, can carry heavy equipment like tanks and other payloads besides transporting troops in harsh terrains anywhere in the world at day or night conditions. The high wing, T-tailed massive aircraft that can be flown by a pilot with a simple joystick, can be lifesaving in a battle zone given its quick take-off capability at steep angles. The US and NATO countries have used the C-17s in Afghanistan and Iraq operations where the transport aircraft has proved its efficacy.