By mid July, Indian government will get 2 new VIP aircrafts B777-300ER which will have self-protection suites (SPS). This will facilitate the VIPs to take more frequent trips.
Security features on board:
- large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM)
- missile warning sensors
- Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites
- Counter-measure dispensing systems (CMDS)
- Along with other technical supports, 12 guardian laser transmitter assemblies will be included
In B777-330 ER, B stands for Boeing and ER stands for extended range. Boeing had delivered the two of these to Air India in January 2018, which were later sent to Boeing’s facility in Dallas for retrofitting with latest security and communication systems. The plane will feature twin GE90-115 engines, which is a variant of the engine made for the -300ER. These aircrafts were showcased during the Republic day parade held in 2018.
Indian VIPs have been currently flying in 26 year old jumbo jets, and it was the need of the hour to replace them. India will not be the first to use B777-300ER, these are regularly used by countries like Japan, Saudi arabia, and Bangladesh.
In last 3 years it has been worked out that the cost could go up to $800 million (or Rs 6000 crores). The security systems for the aircrafts costs about $190m purchase, which required State department approval, due to it’s military nature.
Air India one, which is not a plane but a call sign for flights carring Indian President, Vice-President and Prime Minister, will finally see an image make over. The aircrafts will be operated by Indian Air Force.
Edit: Latest reports claim the cost to be Rs 8400 crores.