Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flights abroad are about to get much safer and cozier.
The defence acquisitions council chaired by Manohar Parrikar will take up a plan to acquire two Boeing 777-300 (extended range) aircraft for exclusive use by President Pranab Mukherjee and Modi for extra long-haul overseas flights, reports The Times of India.
The 777-300, that will be purchased from state carrier Air India, will be armed with an advanced radar and warning system, along with defence systems geared to shoot metal chaff or flares to throw off-track radar-guided or heat-seeking missiles, according to the report.
The two planes will replace the outdated Boeing 747 'Jumbo Jets' used for VVIP duties presently.
But even as our PM gets his aircraft upgraded, he might just be late to the party of fancy high flyers.
For years now, heads of various state and government have had some pretty fancy air transport, some of which is better than others.
- The British No. 32 Squadron RAF of the Royal Air Force maintains a fleet of aircraft to cater to the Prime Minister and The Royal Family. The fleet includes Agusta A109 helicopters, BAE-125 mid-sized business jets and BAE-146 regional airliners.
The Queen flies in her own personal claret coloured Sikorsky S-76.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin knows how to fly in style. The President recently splashed more than £100 million on two luxurious private jet.
Photos of the planes were leaked online, showing lavish white leather chairs, gold covered trims, king size beds, kitchens and conference rooms, not to mention a plush gym and walls decorated with precious paintings, reports the Mirror.
— Ariana Gic Perry (@ArianaGicPerry) March 21, 2015
- The French President François Hollande has 4 Dassault Falcon 50, 2 Dassault Falcon 900, 2 Dassault Falcon 7X and an Airbus A330-200 at his disposal when travelling on official trips. His official aircraft made headlines not because of its luxurious interiors but the fact that it landed safely despite being struck by lightning in 2012, reports the Telegraph.
— Matthias Haenni (@matthiashaenni) April 15, 2015
- Even the Pope has a fancy aircraft. Although Vatican City doesn't have a plane for the pontiff, it relies on a chartered jet provided by Alitalia, the flag carrier and national airline of Italy. However, when the Pope leaves from a country he is visiting, he flies the country's flagship airline, reports the Rappler.
- Finally, perhaps the most popular presidential plane in the world is the US Air Force One. The plane even had a own movie based on it in 1997, Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford as the President of the United States.
In US government's words, "Air Force One is one of the most recognizable symbols of the presidency, spawning countless references not just in American culture but across the world. Emblazoned with the words "United States of America," the American flag, and the Seal of the President of the United States, it is an undeniable presence wherever it flies."
The plane is capable of refuelling mid-air, has unlimited range, has on-board electronics hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command centre in the event of an attack on the United States.
Updated Date: May 12, 2015 17:32:55 IST