When US President Donald Trump came to India in February, the most discussed was his car and his plane

When US President Donald Trump came to India in February, the most discussed was his car and his plane. The plane that Trump travels by is Air Force One. It is considered to be the safest aircraft in the world. Now, this aircraft is going to come to India. This is Boeing 777-300 ER, which has been prepared by the US company Boeing.

India has purchased three such aircrafts for VVIP, one of which is going to come this week. There are only three people in India who are VVIP. The first is President Ram Nath Kovind, the second is Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and the third is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

There is a squadron of Air Force at Palam Airport in Delhi, also known as Air Headquarters Communication Squadron or VVIP Squadron. The same squadron includes the same aircraft that take the VVIP on an international tour.

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What is VVIP Squadron? What are the aircrafts? What is the peculiarity of Air Force One? Find out the answers to some of these questions from retired Air Marshal Anil Chopra...

1. What is VVIP Squadron?

Air Force Station was built at Palam Airport on 1st November 1947. At that time, there were aircraft like Dakota DC-3, Devon, IL-14, Viscount, Avro HH-748, L-1049 Super Constation, Tu-124K, Boeing 737, Mi-4 and Mi-8. At present, it has three Boeing business jets, 4 Embraer-135 aircraft and 6 Mi-8 helicopters.

Simultaneously, it has Boeing 747-400 aircraft that visit VVIP International. Because aircraft are deployed for the international visit of VVIP, it is also called VVIP Squadron.

When the president goes on a foreign trip, the Air Force raises its expenses. While the vice president's foreign travel expenses are spent on the Ministry of External Affairs and the Prime Minister's foreign travel, the PMO raises.

Highlights of aircraft included in VVIP squadron

1. Embraer 135 : Can takeoff from a runway of 1800 metres

The Embraer 135 is a twin-turbofan-engine jet. It has been prepared by the Brazilian aerospace company Embraer. The aircraft was inducted into the VVIP Squadron as a replacement for Avro in September 2005.

The aircraft weighs 22 thousand 570 kg and its fuel capacity is up to 8,300 kg. With 10 passengers, it can fly at a speed of 3,100 nautical miles.

It has a cabin of 40 cubic metres in which 12 passengers can sit. There is also a VIP cabin in which 4 passengers can sit.

One of the highlights of the aircraft is that it can land on a runway of 1800 metres on a runway of takeoff and 1400 metres. In addition, the aircraft comes with missile deflating system, modern flight management system, global positioning system as well as instrument landing system of category-2 and other navigation systems.

2. Boeing Business Jet: Offices and Bedrooms for VVIP

The US company Boeing has a 737 series aircraft. The aircraft has a seating arrangement of 25 to 50 passengers. The Air Force has three aircrafts. Their names are ambassadors, Rajhans and Rajkamal. They are priced at Rs 93.4 billion, including a Rs 20 billion self-protection suit (SPS). SPS includes radar warning system, missile approach warning and counter major system. If someone hits the missile on the radar, the aircraft is capable of removing itself from that missile.

The aircraft also has an office and a bedroom for VVIP. Every passenger travelling in this aircraft has a color photo identity. The first class of this aircraft sits in official delegation. Whereas, security personnel and other employees sit in the general class. This aircraft is usually used for domestic visits or travel to neighbouring countries.

3. Boeing 747-400 : 22 years of service

It is also an aircraft made by the US company Boeing, which is an advanced version of Boeing 747. Its range is 1850 km. It is in commercial service since February 1989. From 1989 to 2009, it has been the best selling aircraft of Boeing 747 family.

At present, there are four Boeing 747-400 aircraft in The Air India fleet, which are used for VVIP. However, these aircraft have been in service for 22 years, so they are no longer used. That is why new aircrafts are now being procured.

U.S. president has Air Force One

The aircraft that the US president travels by is called Air Force One. In 1943, it was thought that there should be a special aircraft for the US president's visit. At that time, the US Army and the Air Force transformed a C-54 skymaster for presidential news. For the first time in February 1945, then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt travelled by plane. His then president, Harry S. Truman, also used it for 2 years.

In 1953, the US company Lockheed produced an aircraft called ' Columbine II ', in which the first time the Dwide D'Eisenhower travelled. Thereafter, Lockheed also developed ' Columbine III '. In the decade 1960 and 70, Boeing produced two aircraft Boeing 707.

Since 1990, the US president's fleet includes two Boeing VC-25As, a customized version of the Boeing 747-200B. Thereafter, the US Air Force has ordered two Boeing 747-8, which will be the next Air Force One.

How did India get Boeing 777-300 ER?

The procurement of new aircrafts was under discussion for quite a long time. The need was also felt that new aircraft should be two-engine or four-engine. Government chooses Boeing 777-300 ER to replace Boeing 747.

In 2006, Air India ordered Boeing to 68 aircraft. This includes 27 Dreamliner, 15 Boeing 777-300er, 8 Boeing 777-200 LR and 18 Boeing 737-800.

On January 24, 2018, three Boeing 777-300 ER have been found in India. Two of them have been sent to the US again for VVIP modification.

The commercial use of Boeing 777-300 ER will not be done at all on the lines of the US president's Air Force One. Earlier, Boeing-747 aircraft also had commercial use and were also used for VVIP. The defence ministry will purchase Boeing 777-300 ER from Air India and start using them from September 2021.

One more thing is that these new aircrafts will be flown by Air Force pilots, not Air India. However, the maintenance of these aircrafts will be the responsibility of Air India Engineering Services Limited, which is a subsidiary of Air India.

Air Force One has been placed in the category of military aircraft as it can withstand any kind of air strike.

What's special in new planes?

Security has been taken care of in the new fleet. The new aircraft has an integrated defensive electronic warfare suit (AIDEWS), which protects the plane from electronic hazards. These aircraft have large aircraft infrared counters (LAICRM) self-protection suits, which helps to detect and jam the missile coming towards the aircraft. The system has been found under the special package, costing 190 million dollars. It also has 12 Guardian laser transmitter assemblies, missile warning sensors and counter-major dispensing systems. 

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