‘Air India One,’ the state-of-the-art plane that will fly the country’s top dignitaries, including the President, Vice-president, and the Prime Minister arrived at Delhi International Airport from the US on October 1.
This is the first of the two retrofitted Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft which was ordered by the Indian government. The flight was expected to land in India from the Boeing facility at Fort Worth, Texas in July but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aircraft, Boeing 777-300 ER also includes a VVIP suite, a press briefing room, a secure communications system with jammers, a medical room, and two conference rooms.
Additionally, the wide-bodied craft has come retro-fitted with sophisticated missile defence and countermeasures dispensing defence systems.
This also includes large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) self-protection suites (SPS). To top that off, the aircraft also proudly boasts an air-to-air refueling facility as well.
The total cost of purchasing and then retrofitting the two aircraft has been estimated to be around Rs 8,400 crores. The B777 aircraft will replace the Boeing 747 which until now was used to fly Indian leaders.
Air India One can also function as a full-fledged office space which is much like the Air Force One that is used by the President of the US.
Initially, the flight will be operated by Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots in coordination with the pilots from Air India.