Of the 10 C-17 aircraft ordered, three have been delivered to the IAF while two more will be delivered this year and the remaining five in 2014.
The squadron will be based at the Hindon air force station.
“This is a giant stride for the air force,” Antony said, adding: “India and the US have had a long-standing partnership and this is another milestone.”
The C-17s will boost the IAF’s capability to transport troops and heavy equipment such as main battle tanks to the front, thanks to its ability to carry around 80 tonnes of load.
According to IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, the mighty aircraft would by US aviation giant Boeing, will be operated from advanced landing grounds in north and northeastern India.
The IAF’s C-130J Super Hercules medium-lift aircraft had last month landed at the highest airstrip in the world – the Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh close to the Chinese border – the region in which the two Asian giants were engaged in an impasse in April.
A spate of Chinese intrusions in the past few months has created tensions between the two south-east Asian giants who share a border of length around 3,500 km.
The C-17s will boost India’s plan to strengthen its capabilities along the disputed border with China.