May 13, 2015
India to buy two 777-300ERs for VVIP duties
The aircraft will be highly-secure, plush and fitted with advanced self-protection suites to jam and beat hostile incoming missiles and encrypted satellite communication facilities.
At present, the prime minister and other VVIPs use Boeing 747 'Jumbo Jets' under 'Air India One' call sign after pulling them out from commercial duties as and when required. "These old aircraft do not have anti-missile defence systems, which the SPG holds is necessary. The decision was taken after a committee of secretaries from top ministries and aviation experts examined the matter," according sources.
The India defence acquisitions council, will take up acquisition of two Boeing 777-300 (ER extended range) aircraft for extra long-haul flights.
The two 777-300 (ER) aircraft will be bought from Air India, which has a dozen such relatively new wide-bodied planes, and then specially configured for VVIP travel and retrofitted with the sophisticated self-protection suites by Boeing.
The two modified 777-300 (ER) aircraft will be based with the Air HQ Communication Squadron at Palam, which is tasked with ferrying the President, PM and other VVIPs.