A modified Boeing 777 aircraft, which will be used to fly the President, Vice President and Prime Minister, has arrived at the national capital on Thursday after a 15-hour long flight from Texas, USA.
The plane which was scheduled to be delivered by aircraft manufacturer Boeing to Air India in July was delayed twice previously due to Covid-19 pandemic and technical reasons.
The plane will have state-of-the-art missile defence systems, capable of countering missile threats, called Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS).
A team of senior officials from the Indian Air Force and Air India had reached the US to assess the technical requirements and escort the aircraft back to India.
The government has planned to procure two such specially modified Boeing-777 aircraft. The next one is likely to arrive later this year.
Officials said the total cost of purchase and retrofitting the two planes has been estimated to be around Rs 8,400 crore.
The call sign of the aircraft will be ‘Air India One’ as the President or Prime Minister will be travelling in it. The aircraft will be operated as a VVIP flight by the Indian Air Force.
Earlier in February, the US agreed to sell the two defence systems to India at a cost of USD 190 million.