New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) The first of the two Boeing B777 aircraft, which have been specially retrofitted with the latest self-defence protection suite for VVIP transport duties, landed at the IGI Airport late on Thursday afternoon.
The aircraft, which was originally owned by Air India, will now be handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF), which will use it to ferry the Prime Minister, the President and the Vice President.
The aircraft landed at the IGI Airport at around 3.30 p.m. It sports a host of hi-tech missile defence protection suites such as ‘Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures’, among others.
It had initially served in the fleet of Air India in 2018 before being flown back to a Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas, where it was fitted with the latest air defence protection technology.
Boeing was able to provide the latest tech to Air India’s aircraft under an India-US high-tech deal.
In terms of livery, the aircraft dones the national emblem and the name ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’ written in both Hindi and English on either sides of the aircraft, while the national flag is present on the tail wing.
Originally scheduled to arrive back in July 2020, the handing over of the retro-fitted aircraft was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At present, the President, Vice President and the Prime Minister travel on Boeing 747 aircraft which will hold the coveted call-sign of ‘Air India One’.
However, there is no clarity on the delivery date of the second aircraft.