The US President Barack Obama crisscrosses the globe in the Air Force One, the Boeing 747-800 and India has its own version of the Air Force One, the Air India One, the jumbo which has ferried the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US.
While you would have seen pictures of Modi coming down the aircraft waving for the first time NewsMobile provides you to its readers, an Exclusive look of what is to be on board Air India One the VVIP aircraft that ferries the top Indian dignitaries.
Currently Air India One is a Boeing 747-200 with some exclusive specifications for the safe and comfortable travel for the Indian leaders.
There is a panel of eight experienced pilots who are always prepared to fly the VVIP anywhere across the globe and a set of crew is specially trained for the VVIP flight.
Once a flight is scheduled, one among it is pulled and configured with a VVIP type setting which includes a bedroom, a conference room and the aircraft is equipped with satellite phone, fax, internet and other necessities to make it functional office in the sky.
Once the configuration is complete, the plane is taken over by personnel from Special Protection Group (SPG) for security checking and anti sabotage check as each and every inch of the plane including the fuel and water is scanned before being filled.
SPG is tasked with PM’s security with the flight being monitored from Air Force Station in Palam, New Delhi. While Delhi Police’s security wing manages the security element for the President and Vice President
THE VVIP Suite
Air India One has got a VVIP suite specially procured from Boeing. The VVIP suite has a restricted entry even to the delegation on board, it has PM’s bedroom. On the front side is a conference room with satellite phone, where the PM meets his national security team and members of his delegation.
At each stop Modi prefers to be briefed in advance and his private secretary and only selected senior officials are allowed in to brief the PM ahead of his each stop on his foreign tours.
The aircraft is divided into three sections with the first class meant for Ministers and senior officials in the lower deck followed by the VVIP’s cabin, which has a bedroom, a conference room, first class seating and a full equipped toilet. While the senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Prime Minister’s secretariat are seated on the upper deck
There are 34 business class seats for media persons on the aircraft behind the VVIP cabin which allows them to come out of the cabin directly to the media cabin to address a presser in the air. While President and Vice President travel with a media delegation, under Modi while only the official media travels on board.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON BOARD
Guests are served with a gourmet meal prepared to their personal choices. Sources say that while Modi is a frugal eater settling for a simple vegetarian meal and just warm water and fruits when he is fasting.
There is no liquor served on board Modi’s Air India one, the one Premier with a penchant for a good meal was AB Vajpayee who would have choicest delicacies and chef Hemant Oberoi from the Taj group was drafted to cook for the PM on his foreign tours.
While the Official logo is inscribed in yellow on the seats the President, Vice President and Prime Minister sit, AI one has a signature designer livery specially designed for AI I.
THE WORKAHOLIC PM
Towards the end of the aircraft is the security and other support staff cabin which ensures that Air India One is well guarded and the office is kept running, important messages to the PMO can be sent in an encrypted form from inside the PM’s VVIP suite
There is also a doctor and emergency medical equipment on board to attend to any emergency in the flight.
THE SECURE ZONE
With a host of security features, that rival a fighter jet including radar warning receivers, Missile Approach Warning System, Flares & Chaff: Flares are high-temperature heat sources ejected from aircraft that mislead heat-sensitive or heat-seeking missiles.
In order to ensure that the aircraft controls are not subjected to any hacking there is even an Intruder Detection System: An intrusion detection system (IDS) inspects all inbound and outbound network activity and identifies suspicious patterns that may indicate a network or system attack from someone attempting to break into or compromise a system.
Air India One is actually the call sign of the aircraft used when Prime Minister Of India is one board on any aircraft. Currently, The Prime Minister of India travels on Boeing 747-400 aircraft owned by Air India and operated by Indian Air Force for overseas travel. Apart from this there is one more Boeing 747 as standby aircraft, four Embraer 135 aircraft and three Boeing Business Jet also in the fleet for VVIP flying movements which caters domestic and nearby country visits.
Three Boeing were specially designed and procured for Prime Minister and President each and keeping one aircraft as standby aircraft. The name of these three aircraft are Rajdoot,Rajhans and Rajkamal.
There is a panel of eight pilots who are always prepared to fly the VVIP anywhere across the Globe. Once, a flight is scheduled, one among it is pulled and configured with a VVIP type setting which includes a satellite phone, fax.internet etc and other necessities. Once the configuration is complete, the plane is taken over by personnel from Special Protection Group (SPG) for security checking and safety purpose as each and every inch of the plane including the fuel and water is scanned before being filled . SPG is tasked with PM’s security with the flight being monitored from Air Force Station in Palam.
Apart from the Boeing 747-400 owned by Air India and used on international state visits, the IAF currently owns four 14 seater Embraer 135, four 20 seater Embraer 145and three customized 46 seater Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) that have a VIP cabin and are used for VIP movement. Of these the Boeing 747s are used by either the Prime Minister, President or Vice President when on official overseas visits.
Each Embraer 135 is equipped with missile-deflecting systems, modern flight management system including global positioning system, as well as category II instrument landing system. These aircraft cost the IAF ₹ 1.40 billion each. The Three BBJs, named Rajdoot, Rajhans and Rajkamal cost the IAF ₹ 9.34 billion each (₹ 7.34 billion for the actual aircraft plus an additional ₹ 2 billion for Self Protection Suites). Self-protection suites include radar warning receivers,it also has highly trained commandos to protect the president/vice/prime minister, missile-approach warning and counter-measure systems. The aircraft has the capability to shoot chaff and flaresto deviate radar-guided and heat-seeking missiles off their track along with other security tools.The other security instruments are undisclosed by the Indian Air Force.
The onboard electronics include about 238 miles of wiring (twice the amount you'd find in a normal 747). Heavy shielding is tough enough to protect the wiring and crucial electronics from the electromagnetic pulse associated with a nuclear blast.
The President is designated VIP 1, The Vice President VIP 2 and The Prime Minister VIP 3. The BBJ have a four class configuration. For the President/Prime Minister, there is a separate enclosure in the aircraft which includes an office and a bedroom. Everyone aboard Air India One is required to wear a color-coded identity card. Members of the official delegation (Joint Secretary level and above) are tagged in purple and sit in First Class while accompanying officials (junior officers) are given pink tags and sit in Business Class on the upper deck. Journalists and others from the media sit in the Executive Class and sport yellow tags. Support staff join the security team in a small economy class section at the back of the aircraft and are tagged in red. These aircraft are expected to be replaced as they have become less cost-effective to operate.The Indian Air Force is looking forward to replace the present Boeing 747-400 with the Boeing 777-300ER. The committee is soon to take the call. The planes will be maintained by the Indian Air Force,
Manmohan Singh in Air India One
These Boeing and Embraer aircraft are not ordinary aircraft. All these aircraft has the capability of self defence. Air India One is very advanced and has following capabilities :
Aircraft Anti Missile Flares
The government has chosen the ultra long-haul Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to replace the ageing Boeing 747s that serve as the Air India One fleet.
AI has a fleet of 12 777s, out of which two would be transferred to the defence ministry for VVIP use, a senior AI official said. “The decision was taken at a recent meeting between defence and aviation ministry officials and attended by top AI brass,” the official said.
In a significant departure from the past and on the lines of the US President’s Air Force One fleet, the two 777s once handed over to the defence ministry won’t be used for commercial operations by AI at all. At present, the 747s are deployed for commercial operations by AI when not in use for VVIP flights.
“An in-principle decision has been taken to transfer two 777s to the VIP fleet,” an AI spokesperson told HT. The planes in the VIP fleet are used by the Prime Minister and the President.
According to discussions, the government will buy out the two planes from AI, sources said.
“The planes would need extensive modifications and done up according to VIP requirements. It would also be fitted with sophisticated communication equipment, in flight refueling equipments and security kits for which certification would be needed from Boeing,” the official said.
“Other modalities are being worked out in consultation with Boeing officials. The transfer (of the planes) would not take place before the second half of 2015-16,” another senior AI official said.
As part of the arrangement being worked out, the aircraft would be maintained by the defence ministry with help from AI engineers, and pilots and cabin crew might be requisitioned from AI depending on requirement, sources said.
The options from Boeing were the four-engine Boeing 747 and two-engine Boeing 777 and 787. Incidentally, Air India already has both the long range (LR) and extended range (ER) versions of the Boeing 777, as well as the 787 Dreamliner. The other options are from Airbus — four-engine A340 and two-engine A330 and A350.
But before the successor to the original "queen of the skies" (B-747) is found, a panel of secretaries of top ministries like defence, finance, aviation, external affairs, home along with brass of the Special Protection Group(SPG) will this month meet to address two key issues — whether the new plane should be two-engine or four-engine and whether AI or Indian Air Force should be operating and maintaining the chariot of the sky. "There is a huge price difference in the price of twin-engine and four-engine jets. So there is the obvious financial angle," said highly placed sources.
The IAF maintains and operates a fleet of Boeing Business Jets for use by top VVIPs like President, Vice-President and Prime Minister for flying within India and to neighbouring countries. "The secretaries will decide whether the new aircraft should be with AI or IAF. If they decide in favour of the IAF, then the defence establishment will decide the successor aircraft. Else, civil aviation authorities will take a technical call on which plane is best suited for the VVIPs," said the source. The final decision will be taken by the highest echelons of the government. However given the long-distance requirement, the choice for both the defence and civil aviation authorities is going to be limited to the options from Boeing and Airbus.
Air India One has got a VVIP suite specially procured from Boeing . Air India One has a special lounge for six people a big conference room with satellite phone.There are 34 business class seats for media persons on board Air India One. Guests are served with lavish food and drinks of their wish. It has got private office and bedroom on board.The cost of the these aircraft is more than 200 crores for each aircraft.
Apart from wide range of food and beverage menu to choose from, the flyer in the VVIP also have an area demarcated for smoking which usually is at the back of the plane.These are some of the perks which money can’t buy in the world.
In 1988 Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq died in a plane crash under mysterious circumstances. It is widely believed that the pilots of his plane were incapicated with the help of chemicals which were allegedly planted inside the panels of the cockpit. After the incident, security agencies around the world started checking each and every panels and switches, etc to scan of any wrongdoing.