Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon fly in a VVIP aircraft - Air India One - which is set to land in Delhi by early next week. The government has ordered two highly customised wide-bodied Boeing 777-300 ERs to fly PM Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and other senior dignitaries of the country.
The two aircraft are currently being customised in the United States and will replace the nearly 25-year-old Air India One planes of Boeing 747 fleet. The new Special Extra Section Flight (SESF) or VVIP aircraft 'Air India One' will be operated by pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF). While the first jet will land in the national capital next week, the second will arrive by the end of the year, sources told The Print.
Here is a quick lowdown on the new aircraft, which are on their way to India from Boeing's Fort Dallas HQ in Florida:-
- The two Boeing aircraft have been converted into an impregnable air fortress and would cost around Rs 8,458 crore to the exchequer.
- The aircraft have their own missile defence system, Self-Protection Suites (SPS) that can jam enemy radar frequencies, and state-of-the-art communication system.
- The planes function as a full-fledged flying command centre. Its advanced and secure communication system facilitates audio and video communication without being tapped or hacked, just like the American Air Force One used by the US President.
- The aircraft's interiors have been divided into a conference room, big cabin for VVIP passengers, a mini medical centre as well as seats for the accompanying entourage of officials or dignitaries.
- The aircraft will go with the Air India One sign.
- Air India One (also referred to as AI-1 or AICOO1) is the call sign of any aircraft with the President or Prime Minister of India on board.
- The aircraft will be operated by the IAF, although Air India would receive them.
- A team of senior officers from Air India, IAF and security agencies have reached the US to complete formalities and bring the aircraft to India.
- The planes will bear the Ashoka emblem with Bharat and India written over them.
- The new aircraft can fly over 17 hours continuously without refuelling. The current one can't fly more than 10 hours without refuelling.