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The Indian Air Force has just revealed that it has started transporting trucks carrying oxygen in its C-17 Globemaster-III and IL-76 cargo aircraft. This is a masterstroke by the Indian Air Force as it reduces the time taken to transfer oxygen from one part of the country to another by a huge margin. Time is extremely important as the demand for pure oxygen is at an all-time high in view of the second wave of COVID-19.
The second wave of the COVID-19 virus is sweeping across the length and breadth of the country. The daily count of COVID-19 cases have never been as high as they are now, and it only seems to be increasing.
In 2020, when the COVID-19 virus first hit the country, the government imposed a lockdown across the country. The number of cases being reported daily didn't cross the One lakh mark. This time though, we've already passed the Three lakh mark and this is ringing alarm bells like never before.
The state governments, medical workers, frontline warriors, citizens, private companies, and even public companies have all joined in the fight against the pandemic. The armed forces of India too had joined this fight ages ago and have been supporting the fight in the best way they could.
Now, the Indian Air Force has revealed that it has started transporting cryogenic oxygen container trucks with its large cargo aircraft. The demand for pure molecular oxygen is at its peak in several cities across India.
The trucks that transport the molecular oxygen from the cryogenix plant to the hospitals or filling stations in need are limited by a number of factors. The biggest limiting factor is time. Trucks sometimes have to travel hundreds of kilometres to deliver the oxygen. This process takes several hours, sometimes even overnight drives are required to be undertaken.
Adding to this are factors like driver fatigue, roadblocks, fuel-stops, etc. The Indian Air Force has found that usage of its giant cargo aircraft cuts down massively on all of the aforementioned limiting factors.
The truck hauling the oxygen container trailer simply drives into the aircraft and the aircraft covers the distance within several minutes, while the truck driver can cover the last mile quickly. The aircraft being used for this operation are the Ilyushin IL-76 and the C-17 Globemaster-III which is the largest aircraft in the IAF's arsenal.
The Ilyushin IL-76 is a multipurpose strategic airlifter designed and developed by the Ilyushin design bureau. The aircraft can be operated from unpaved runways, making it ideal for forward military operations. The Indian Air Force has 26 units of the IL-76, and 29 more specially designed versions of the aircraft for other specific tasks. The IAF has put the standard multipurpose IL-76 into use for the transportation of oxygen tankers across the country.
The other aircraft being used in this operation is the C-17 Globemaster-III. Produced by Boeing, this is the largest aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force. It is capable of transporting heavy cargo like battle tanks. It can also air-drop hundreds of soldiers into the battlefield or a reduced number of soldiers along with infantry equipment. The Indian Air Force operates 11 of these behemoths.
A tweet put out by the IAF shows an Ashok Leyland Truck being unloaded from the aircraft after a successful flight from Hindan Air Force Base to Panagarh. The tweet also states that more such oxygen transportation flights are being undertaken across the country.
Thoughts On Indian Air Force C-17 & IL-76 Being Used To Transport Oxygen Trucks Across India
The Indian Air Force has always been proactive in serving the country in time of need. The organisation has previously used its helicopters and aircraft during natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, landslides, etc. Now, the aircraft are in service, providing oxygen to those in need of it.