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President unveils India's own Air Force One

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 01, 2009 12:52 IST
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President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday inducted the new state-of-the-art VVIP jets into the Indian Air Force before embarking on its maiden flight to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

The new jets are designed to work as an office-in-the sky and also as a command centre in event of an emergency, like a nuclear attack.

"The trip would now be more business like. We will get more time to study, concentrate and apply our minds as flight will be smoother," said Patil at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Standing proud on the tarmac, the sparkling white Boeing Business Jet has been patterned on the US President's famous Air Force One aircraft and comes equipped with a wide range of security cover and latest communication devices.

"The aircraft has some of the finest high technology systems and is equipped with excellent communication systems," Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major.

The aircraft, which can seat upto 60 passengers, has four sections with the first one being that of President, which is decorated with light and dark wooden panels with six leather seats. The section also has a bedroom for the President along with all the major entertainment and communication facilities.

The new Boeing 747/700 christened as 'Rajdoot' is one of the three such aircraft that have been bought by the country to cater to the VVIPs, including the Prime Minister.

The aircraft is said to be equipped with modern hi-tech missile defence system which includes a protection suite and chaff dispensers to ward off missile threats besides other security gadgets.

It has a secure satellite based communication system in addition to VHF communication system, which helps the travelling dignitary to be in touch with ground as and when the need arises.

The jets, powered by two CFM-56 engines respectively, manufactured by US General Electric and French Snecma, are designed to have long range flights and can easily pull off 6,000 nautical miles (11,100 km) with refuelling. The planes can fly at the height of 41,000 feet at a speed of 410 knots.

Upon entering, one encounters luxurious plush beige leather interiors.

The aircraft has been specially customised for the President, Prime Minister and special guests and senior ministers and can accomodate 60 passengers in four compartments.

The largest one is the President's compartment, which has three pairs of leather seats facing each other. Two pairs are on side of the aisle whereas another pair is on the other side.

The compartment also has a small bedroom where the travelling President or the Prime Minister can take rest during long flights.

The other two sections are for senior officials travelling with the President or the Prime Minister.

While one of the three jets inducted into the IAF's Headquarters Communication Squadron is meant exclusively for the President and the Prime Minister, the other is for ferrying special guests and senior ministers. The third jet would be on a stand-by.

The aircraft would replace the Boeing 737, which was being used till now.

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