The first of the two “Air India One” (Boeing B777) custom-made aircraft landed at the IGI Airport late on Thursday (1st Oct 2020) afternoon.
Specially retrofitted with the latest self-defense protection suite for VVIP transport duties, the aircraft will now be handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF), which will use it to carry the Prime Minister, the President and the Vice President of India. And, The IAF’s Air Headquarters Communication Squadron, based at Indira Gandhi International Airport (formerly Palam Air Force Base) in New Delhi, is in charge of operating these aircraft.
Special Features of Air India One:
The aircraft hosts several high security-related features such as hi-tech missile defense protection suites like ‘Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures’.
The LAIRCM protects the aircraft from man-portable missiles by increases warning time for the crew. It also automatically engages countermeasures to protect itself from advanced intermediate-range missile systems.
Powered by twin GE90-115 engines, the aircraft is capable of reaching the speed of up to 900 kmph with the ability to remain in the air for over 17 hours without refueling.
It had initially served in the fleet of Air India in 2018 before being flown back to a Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas, where it was fitted with the latest air defense protection technology.
Boeing was able to provide the latest technology to the aircraft due to India-US high-tech deal, IANS reported adding that “in terms of livery, the aircraft dons the national emblem and the name ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’ written in both Hindi and English on either side of the aircraft, while the national flag is present on the tail wing.”
The aircraft is equipped with an advanced communication system allowing midair audio and video communication without being hacked.
The plane was scheduled to arrive back in July 2020 but the delivery for delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.