Aircrafts for the VIP Squadron

Aircrafts for the VIP Squadron

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Aircrafts for the VIP Squadron

 

Indian Air force will soon be getting two aircrafts for its VIP SQUADRON. The wait for two of its dedicated VVIP aircraft is about to get over as the specially made hi-tech aircraft is set to land in Delhi on October 1. The aircraft on the line of American AIRFORCE ONE will be handed over by Boeing after conducting test flights. Indian teams have already flown to Boeing headquarters at Chicago to take delivery of these special aircraft.

After the arrival of these two planes from the United States, these will be used exclusively for the supreme Commander that is the president, vice-president and the Prime Minister. The purchase went through a series of delays. From the USA, the aircrafts will be taken over by the Air India and accompanied by a team comprising Air India’s engineers and pilots and a team from the Indian Air Force.

The test flights have been completed by September 25, and now the aircraft manufacturer will hand over the two aircraft to Air India. The two aircraft will take off by September 30 and will land in Delhi by October 1. “Both aircraft are expected to take-off with a gap of around 20 minutes on September 30,” said a highly placed source on conditions of anonymity. Air India did not comment on the development.

The first delivery of these VVIP aircraft was scheduled in July but was delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. It was then scheduled to be delivered around mid- September. While one of the two aircraft was to be delivered mid-September, the second aircraft was to be delivered by September end. These aircraft deliveries were however delayed after a team from Air India that had flown to the US for taking the aircraft’s delivery made some technical suggestions.

These Boeing 777 aircraft will have state-of-the-art missile defence systems called Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self Protection Suites (SPS).

The customised aircraft will be handed over by Air India to the IAF. They will be operated by the Indian Air Force pilots as part of VIP Communication Squadron and will be flying only the designated VVIPs. For this, Air India has trained four IAF pilots.

In May this year, around 15 shortlisted senior-most Air India pilots were deputed for two years to operate these ‘special extra section flights’ which refers to these VVIP flights. As the national carrier’s pilots are well experienced to operate B777, initially they will be helping the IAF pilots and later IAF pilots will take over the complete flying operations.

In 2018, these two aircraft that were sent to the Boeing facility for the retrofitting purpose were a part of the airline’s commercial fleet.

Currently, Air India operates its Boeing 747 aircraft for the VVIP travel. However, these aircraft are not exclusively used to fly dignitaries. They have been utilised for commercial purposes when they are not flying VVIPs.