The aircraft for the Indian Prime Minister and other VVIPs are all set to get an overhaul so as to make them as secure as Air Force One, the aircraft used by the US President.
By 2020, the aircraft flying the Indian Prime Minister and other VVIPs will be equipped with missile defence systems to shield the top brass leaders from any aerial assault and against surface to air missiles. The changes proposed will make the aircraft as secure as Boeing 747-200B used by the incumbent US President.
Customised Boeing 777 to be inducted by July 2020
By July 2020 two customised Boeing 777 aircraft with missile defence systems will be inducted to fly the Indian Prime Minister, President and the Vice President.
The aircraft will also be enabled with Self Protection Suites (SPS) which will further enhance the security of the aircraft against attacks. Currently, the Indian Prime Minister is flown by Boeing 747 but keeping in mind his safety, Boeing 777 with state of the art defence systems will replace the current plane used by the Prime Minister.
New aircraft to be flown by pilots of the IAF
While presently, the top dignitaries of India are flown by pilots of Air India, the national carrier, the new Boeing 777 being developed for the Prime Minister and the President will be flown by pilots of the Indian Air Force as they are equipped with sophisticated defence systems.
This move addresses the much-asked questions about the security of India’s top leaders amid escalation with neighbouring countries and increasing instances of aerial assaults. These aircraft will be maintained by Air India Engineering Limited and being developed at the Boeing facility in Dallas.