Boeing 777-300ER : New VVIP Aircraft (20 August 2020)
Boeing 777- 300ER : New VVIP Aircraft (20 August 2020)
Why in News:
As per media reports first specially modified Boeing-777 VVIP aircraft, capable of countering missile threats will arrive in India from the United States by August-end followed by the second one a month later. These planes will be used by President, Vice President and Prime Minister of India for their foreign travel.
The two brand new planes joined the Air India fleet in early 2018 and returned to Boeing’s headquarters in Dallas Fort-Worth in the U.S. six months later so that the passenger aircraft could be completely overhauled.
The first of these two planes was scheduled to return to India by June 30 and the other by July 30. But they will now return on August 30 and September 30 respectively.
The Boeing 777-300ER that are all set to arrive into India will replace the earlier 747-400.
Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1)
Need for India:
- For last 30 years, India is using this Boeing 747, a commercial flight for VVIP, basically President, Prime Minister and Vice-President, whenever they were going out and whenever they are moving inside the country, it was basically India Air Force communication squadron which is a VVIPs flight.
- The Boeing 747 was a very ad hoc arrangement.
- The Boeing which was of Air India, the commercial one did not have any security aspect involved in that.
- India is emerging superpower now, so it must have a specialized aircraft for its VVIPs due to increasing security threat.
- Air India is no more going to be a national carrier, because it is going to be privatized. Therefore, there is need that country must have its own aircraft which is exclusively for President, Prime Minister and Vice-President.
Advantages of this Aircraft:
- This aircraft can go around the whole world in one go.
- It will equip with missile warning sensors and counter measures dispensing defence system.
- It will include a suite comprising a bedroom and a bathroom, a press conference room and a conference room for VVIPs.
- Basically, the biggest threat that an aircraft faces when it take off from an airfield, during takeoff and just before landing is the threat of man pads or man portable surface to air missile systems, which are basically shoulder fired missiles. So, this aircraft is going to get equipment which will disable such missiles.
- One of the systems is the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS)
- In the beginning two aircraft is good enough because even the Air Force one, the two identical aircraft which is available to President of USA is two only. Also the modification which has been carried out is very costly.
Important points made by the Guests
Manu Pubby, Senior Editor, Economic Times
Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd.), Addl Director General, Centre for Air Power Studies
Maj Gen Ashwani Kumar Siwach (Retd.), Defence Expert