Air India is training around 10 Indian Air Force pilots to fly PM Modi's new Boeing 777 (Photo Credit: PTI File)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new special aircraft may be managed by Indian Air Force and may well be named 'Air Force One', if reports are to be believed. So far the planes used to fly the prime minister and other top dignitaries are placed under Air India. According to ANI, Air India is training around 10 Indian Air Force pilots for the new aircraft Boeing 777 to be used for this purpose. The aircraft will reach India next year and are expected to be used from July 2020.
This will be the first 1st time when Air India pilots won't fly with 'Air India One' special aircraft.
A Hindustan Times report quoting South Block officials said that such a proposal is under discussion. According to a official quoted in the report, if the aircraft are placed under IAF, it could mean that the call sign of the prime ministerial aircraft also changes from Air India One to Air Force one.
The two long-haul Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are being customised at Boeing's Dallas facility and are expected to arrive in New Delhi in June 2020, complete with missile defence systems that will make the aircraft as secure as the Boeing 747-200B used by US President Donald Trump.
It will be India's first dedicated aircraft for the three dignitaries - the President, Vice President and Prime Minister - who usually travel abroad on an aircraft chartered from the state-run airline, Air India. For shorter trips, they use planes from Indian Air Force's Communications Squadron's VVIP fleet.
These planes will have Self-Protection Suites (SPS) used in the US President’s Air Force One, the report said. The SPS protection system is highly advanced defence system. It will have large aircraft infrared countermeasures, integrated defensive electronic warfare suite and counter-measures dispensing system.
The 'Air India One' aircraft will be able to jam enemy radar and divert heat-seeking missle. The warning and countermeasures system of these aircraft will require no action from the crew and will automatically counter advanced intermediate range missile systems.
In February 2019, the White House administration, in a special measure, had announced to give India access to the advance defence system used in US President' aircraft. These new planes are estimated to cost the exchequer a whopping Rs 13,612,550,000 (USD 190 million).