Air India One, the highly customised wide-bodied Boeing 777-300 ERs, meant exclusively for the Indian Prime Minister, President and the Vice-President, is set to land in Delhi by early next week, according to reports.
Sources in the defence and security establishment said while the first aircraft will land next week, the second will arrive by the end of this year.
The aircraft, which has its own missile defence system, called the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS) besides state-of-the-art communication system, will be operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF), although Air India would receive it.
As and when the handover to the IAF is complete, the call sign is likely to change from Air India One to Air Force One, just like the one used by American Presidents.
A team consisting of senior officers from Air India, IAF and security agencies are already in the US to finish the formalities and bring the aircraft to India.
The aircraft has Bharat and India written over it, besides the Ashoka emblem.
At present, VVIPs travel long hours on Air India’s Boeing 747 aircraft. However, the aircraft is not capable of flying more than 10 hours without refuelling. The new aircraft can fly over 17 hours continuously without refuelling.