India gets new VVIP business jets with special suites
New Delhi (PTI): India on Monday upgraded the flight security of its VVIPs to stringent levels prevalent for US president and other western nation leaders with the induction of first new long-haul business jets that can ward off missile strikes.
A new wide-bodied Boeing business jet fitted with self-protection suites arrived at the capital's airport in a hush-hush flight on Saturday night to join the IAF VVIP communication squadron. The aircraft with a range of 3,000 to 4,000 nautical miles will be used to fly the country's top dignataries including the President, the Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers.
The Boeing business jet is the first of three ordered by the Indian government in October 2005 in a deal worth more than Rs 937 crore. "The other two jets will fly here in next 45 to 60 days," sources said here. The jets will become operational straightaway as IAF VVIP squadron has already trained three sets of flight crew to operate the aircraft.
The jets come with encrypted satellite communication facilities and advanced navigation aids to enable the Prime Minister on board to be in constant touch with the ground command in complete secrecy.
advanced missile warning system
The new Boeing business jets, labelled Indian version of the Air Force One which ferries the US president, have an advanced missile warning system, a missile deflecting shield and electronic counter measures. The IAF is keeping the new VVIP jets under wraps. "They will provide the country's VVIPs the highest level of protection from any ground-based or air-borne threats."
The new jets will replace older Boeing 737-200s which presently ferry the country's leadership and do not have any protection suites. Two years ago, the IAF procured five smaller Brazilian Embraer jets that are reported to be fitted with limited protection against land-launched weapons and heat-seeking missiles.
New VVIP jets have infra-red sensors and jammers to track incoming missiles from a good distance to alert the pilot to activate counter measures that include dispensing flares and decoys to deflect incoming missiles. While the Embraer plane can accommodate 20 passengers in regular seating arrangement, the Boeing business jet can carry twice that number in much more luxury.
It has a room for the President or the Prime Minister to host upto 48 guests, a private bedroom for the VVIP, an executive office with secure communication facilities.