The new VVIP transport for Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in India. The Boeing 777-300ER, the first of two being fitted out for the country, flew in from Dallas, touching down just after 15:00 this afternoon. The second is due to arrive later this month.
India Force One arrives in Delhi
The new and specially modified Boeing 777 for India’s Air Force has arrived in New Delhi today. The aircraft, which will become the newest Air Force One for transporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, touched down at 15:12 local time, following a 15-hour flight from Fort Worth in the US.
The 777-300ER registered VT-ALV, took off from Fort Worth at 13:34 local time, taking a route that crossed the Arctic Circle on its way to Delhi Airport. It’s the first time the aircraft has left the United States since it touched down in Chicago on June 1st, 2018.
Since that day, more than two years ago, after being ferried to Fort Worth, it has stayed at Fort Worth Alliance Airport (AFW). There, it has been under the care of Boeing, along with a sister 777, being modified for Modi’s new VVIP transport fleet. According to reports, it will only be used by Modi and his colleagues President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
VIP aircraft Air India One is arriving today at Delhi International Airport pic.twitter.com/TWOXGtkIQQ
— Defence Decode (@DefenceDecode) October 1, 2020
It’s the first aircraft to be dedicated for use by the president, vice president and prime minister, who previously would travel on state-owned Air India. Reports suggest they will be operated not by Air India pilots, but instead by the Indian Air Force itself.
The deliveries of both 777s should have taken place in August, but were slightly delayed, primarily due to COVID-19.
What’s special about India’s new Air Force Ones?
The two aircraft are set up to be on a par in defense terms with the US President’s own Air Force One. Unlike the Boeing 747s, which were previously chartered for VVIP transport by India’s highest-ranking politicians, these new jets will have a brand new livery, distinguishing them from the regular Air India fleet.
The overall color scheme is a fully white body, with the colors of the Indian flag running across the lower portion. The words ‘India’ and “Bharat” – the Sanskrit name for the country and written in Hindi – are present on the fuselage. The Indian flag also adorns the tail.
Air India One has landed. The Govt of India's VIP B77W on short finals into DEL. Perhaps the first pic of this plane in Indian airspace. HT to @VimanFotography for the heads up on this arrival. #AVGeek pic.twitter.com/GwN1Ec7y2y
— Shashanka (@sidelower) October 1, 2020
The Boeing 777, previously operated as a passenger jet for Air India, has been fitted out with a Special Protection Suite capable of jamming enemy radar frequencies, diverting heat-seeking missiles and intercepting missile systems without any crew interventions.
Here are few systems that you can expect in the newly modified Air India B777-300ERs for the “Air India One” role(PMs and Presidents)
— Amiet R. Kashyap (@Amitraaz) October 1, 2020
Prior to delivery, the aircraft flew to San Bernardino for part of the conversion. It spent around six weeks there, before returning to Fort Worth for final tests and finishing. Inside, the Prime Minister will be able to enjoy generous office space, meeting rooms and even an area for medical emergencies.
The second 777-300ER is also nearing the completion of its refit. It returned from San Bernardino in early June and is also due to arrive in India later this month.
What do you think of the Indian PM’s new VIP transport? Let us know in the comments.