Indian Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) on Wednesday cleared a proposal to convert two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for VVIP travel as a replacement to Air India’s Jumbo jets.
The two jets will be tasked to ferry the President, Prime minister and other VVIPs. The aircraft will be equipped with advanced self-protection suites to jam and beat hostile incoming missiles besides having encrypted satellite communication facilities.
"These old aircraft do not have anti-missile defense systems, which the SPG holds is necessary. The decision was taken after a committee of secretaries from top ministries and aviation experts examined the matter," an unnamed source was by several media after a briefing following the DAC meeting.
The two 777-300 (ER) aircraft will be bought from Air India, which has a dozen such relatively new wide-bodied planes, and then specially configured for VVIP travel and retrofitted with the sophisticated self-protection suites by Boeing.
The two modified 777-300 (ER) aircraft will be based with the Air HQ Communication Squadron at Palam, which is tasked with ferrying the President, PM and other VVIPs in and around the country.
In the past Air India would operate the jumbo jets as a charter service for the Prime Minister or President for their foreign tours.