Air India One for PM: VVIP flight with high security

The Air India One, specially designed for the President, Prime Minister and Vice President, has landed at the Delhi International Airport.

The Air India One aircraft is built with the same facilities as the Air Force One.  India had ordered two B777-333ER aircraft for the President, Vice President, and the prime minister. The supply of this VVIP aircraft was earlier scheduled for July. It was delayed due to the corona epidemic. The prime minister or the President flies an Indian Air Force aircraft for domestic travel and Air India’s Boeing-747 for international travel. The arrival of Air India One had removed Air India’s Boeing-747 from the VVIP fleet.  The aircraft, flown by Air Force pilots, will be maintained by Air India Engineering Services under Air India.  The Air Force has trained six pilots to fly these aircraft.  The Air Force said it would train more pilots.  The Prime Minister, the President and the Vice President are currently onboard the B747.

With the installation of the missile defense system, the Air India One will be similar to the ‘Air Force One’ known as the White House.

India is buying aircraft defense equipment from the US for Rs.1,350 crore. Air India One, which is the call sign of any aircraft with the Prime Minister or President on board, has its own missile defence system called the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS), which is capable of countering missile threats from an enemy. These defence systems are capable of diverting heat-seeking missiles by disturbing their guidance systems and jamming enemy radar. The aircraft can remain in the air for over 17 hours without refueling.  The aircraft is capable of reaching a speed of up to 900kmph. The aircraft is equipped with an advanced communication system allowing midair audio and video communication without being hacked.  The VVIP aircraft also includes a VVIP suite, two conference rooms, a press briefing room, a medical room and a secure communications room with network jammers.  According to the Times of India, the total cost of purchasing and retrofitting the two aircraft is around Rs.8,400 crore.  The first VVIP jet arrived on October 1 and the second one arrived on October 24.  In February 2019, the US Defense Cooperation Agency agreed to sell two missile defense systems to India for $ 190 million.

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