India is all set to take delivery of the two VIP Boeing 777 aircraft. Dubbed India’s “Air Force One”, the new plane will fly the country’s top leadership on important foreign missions. The new 777s will replace the fleet of aging Air India 747s, as the government looks to operate its own fleet of aircraft, separate from the soon-to-be-privatized Air India.
Brand new livery
One of the most exciting aspects of the new aircraft is the new livery it will feature. Previously, the Prime Minister’s plane simply used an Air India livery, since it was a commercial plane on special operations. However, now with a redesigned 777, the government has gone with a newer, simplistic look.
The plane features India written in both English and Hindi along the side, along with the national emblem in the center. On the tail, we see the Indian flag, reminiscent of the US flag on Air Force One. The aircraft is set to be operated by the Indian Air Force, and not Air India, which explains the inclusion of Air Force insignia behind the rear door.
While there are few images currently available of the new aircraft, we can expect more next month when the plane officially lands in India. What do you think about the new livery? Let us know in the comments!
The primary focus of the new fleet has obviously been security. The former-Air India 777s have been in Boeing’s facility in Dallas undergoing extensive security upgrades. We’ve previously covered the new security features onboard, which includes defensive and countermeasure capabilities.
The new planes will come with Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAICRM) Self-Protection Suites (SPS), which allows the aircraft to detect and jam incoming missiles. The planes will also have Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) to protect from electronic threats to the plane. These systems are a part of a massive $190mn military purchase made by India which was approved by the State Department last year.
India’s “Air Force One” was first expected to come into service in July, but this was pushed back due to the current crisis. The two 777s that are being upgraded were a part of Air India’s order and still hold the same registration for now. However, the planes will be operated by the Air Force and maintained by Air India Engineering Services Ltd.
2020 has been an eventful year for VIP planes
As we wait for India’s new VIP 777s to arrive in September, other countries too have either placed orders or taken delivery of VIP aircraft. The German government took delivery of its new A350 fleet, dubbed as “Merkel One” after the current Chancellor. The UK also recently repainted one of its A330s in an eye-catching new livery.
Other countries have also been considering new aircraft options for their Heads of State. Similar to India, South Korea will be leasing a Korean Air 747-8 for its VIP needs. Finally, the US also firmed up plans for the next generation of Air Force One with two 747-8s, previously owned by a bankrupt Russian airline.
What do you think of India’s new VIP aircraft? Let us know in the comments.