Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Jacques Vincent, Laurent Vlieghe, Luc Vandeneynde - Translations: Marc Arys  İsbap 2021
   
It is certain that the health crisis we are experiencing has resulted in unusual air movements in Belgium. For the present page, it was the Indian variant of the virus (very virulent by the way) which caused the Indian Air Force to fly twice to Ostend airport to load containers of liquid oxygen. A first C-17A Globemaster III (CB-8009) from India was landed at the coastal airport on 04 May, followed on 12 May by a second C-17A (CB-8001) also for liquid oxygen transport.
At the same time, another Indian Air Force C-17A flew to a French base on 10 May to pick up an oxygen vaporization pressure unit (VUP) to convert liquid oxygen into gaseous oxygen, enabling the manufacture of medical cylinders, which are badly needed in India to treat patients suffering from the most serious forms of Covid-19.
C-17A Globemaster III's from 81 Squadron of the Indian Air Force flew the missions to Belgium.
 

The 81 Squadron 'Skylords' is a unit of the Indian Air Force assigned to Western Air Command. The Squadron participates in operations involving air, land and airdrop of troops, equipment, supplies, and support or augment special operations forces, when appropriate.
The Squadron is equipped with a fleet of 11 Globemaster III, The first C-17A was delivered in January 2013, the sixth C-17 aircraft was received in July 2014 and the 11th one was delivered by Boeing in August 2019. It's also interesting to note that the 81 Squadron was created on September 1st, 2013 with the arrival of the new transport aircraft.
The 81 Squadron make part of the 28 Wing established at Hindon Air Force Station and this base is the home of the C-17A Globemaster III fleet, considered as the backbone of Heavy Air Lift division of the Indian Air Force. This station is located near Loni Ghaziabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh in the National Capital Region on the outskirts of Delhi and not far away of the Hindan River.

  Indian Air Force 81 Squadron "Skylords"
Arrival of one of the eleven C-17A Globemaster III from the Indian Air Force
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Standard grey paint scheme for the IAF C-17A
(Jacques Vincentİ)
The right side of the CB-8009 (c/n 50269/F268/IND9)
(Jacques Vincentİ)
...and the left side of the giant
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Indian Air Force noted in Hindi on the left side of the aircraft
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Large tail unit with great sobriety in terms of paintwork
(Jacques Vincentİ)
The load of the day: Four Liquid Oxygen containers from however 20 cubic meters each
(Jacques Vincentİ)

Delicate loading
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Many precautions to load the containers in the cargo bay of the giant
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Loading is over
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Start up
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Taxi clearance, face to face with the Indian Air Force C-17A
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Clearly an unusual visitor in Belgium
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Heading to the holding point
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Hé hé, our photographer will be a star in India, 
Jacky... Bollywood is waiting for you!
(Jacques Vincentİ)
A view of the left wing and the 2 Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100
(Jacques Vincentİ)
A splendid view of the CB-8009 affected to the 28 Wing / 81 Squadron "Skylords" and based at Hindon Air Force Station (Loni Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh)
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Clear to take off, full power
(Jacques Vincentİ)
A nice visitor on the way back to India
(Jacques Vincentİ)
  
May 12th, 2021... The second IAF C-17A (CB-8001) mission in Belgium
 
Arrival of the CB-8001
(Laurent Vliegheİ)
On taxi to the loading area
(Laurent Vliegheİ)
The right profile
(Laurent Vliegheİ)
The left profile during the loading
(Laurent Vliegheİ)
 
May 21st, 2021... The third IAF C-17A (CB-8002) mission in Belgium
 
In final
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Heavy wind landing
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Reverse
(Jacques Vincentİ)
On taxi with the typical EBOS control tower in the background
(Jacques Vincentİ)
During handling and loading
(Jacques Vincentİ)
 
May 26th, 2021... The fourth IAF C-17A (CB-8007) mission in Belgium
 
Arrival of the CB-8007 showing the right side
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Real delicate load
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Firemen are always on stanb by near the plane in case of
(Jacques Vincentİ)
The left side of the C-17A CB-8007
(Jacques Vincentİ)
  
June 11th, 2021... Another IAF C-17A (CB-8003) mission in Belgium
 
Waiting for the load
(Luc Vandeneyndeİ)
 

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