Friday, October 02, 2020

Air India One: All about the new high-tech planes for PM Modi

The B777 aircraft, to be used by Air India One, is highly customised keeping the need of the PM, president and vice president in mind. The two aircraft were part of Air India's commercial fleet for a few months in 2018 before they were sent back to Boeing for retrofitting for VVIP travel. As per officials, the total cost of purchase and retrofitting the two planes has been estimated to be around Rs 8,400 crore.

The custom-made B777 aircraft will be the first dedicated plane to be used to fly the president, vice president and the prime minister. The first plane arrived in Delhi from the US on Thursday. Another custom-made B777 plane will arrive in the coming months.

As per reports, the planes have similar security measures as the Air Force One planes used by the US President. Like the Air Force One, the Air India One planes have Self-Protection Suites and full-fledged office space with conference cabins.

The B777 planes have state-of-the-art missile defence systems called Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS). In February, the US agreed to sell the two defence systems to India at a cost of $190 million. These planes are also equipped with advance communication system which allows availing audio & video communication function at mid-air without being hacked. 

The planes can reportedly fly between India and the US in one go without having to stop for refuelling. The B777 planes will be operated by the pilots of Indian Air Force. 

02/10/20 Economic Times

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