New Delhi: Boosting its Special Operations
capabilities, the Indian Air Force will formally induct its
first C-130 J `Hercules` transport aircraft on February 5.
The aircraft is likely to arrive in the country by the
end of this month and would be formally inducted into the IAF
at a ceremony at its home base Hindan air base near here on
February 5, IAF officials said here.
The first of the six aircraft procured by India under a
USD 970 million deal was handed over to IAF in mid-December.
The aircraft is expected to enhance IAF`s special missions
capability along with transporting men and material.
India had purchased the aircraft under the US government`s
Foreign Military Sales route that includes an offset clause
under which the firm will invest 30 per cent of the deal
amount back in Indian defence industry.
The aircraft will be based at Hindan in Ghaziabad just
outside the capital, where the infrastructure for its
deployment has been completed.
The aircraft would also be pressed into service for
transporting special forces from the capital to other places
in the country in case need arises.
The US government had offered a unique C-130J
configuration modified for special mission roles and these
will be the first uniquely configured aircraft in the IAF
fleet for its special operations.
The aircraft will be able to perform precision low-level
flying, air drops, and landing in blackout conditions. Special
features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in
hostile air defence environment.
India is also planning to place orders for six more
similar aircraft and likely to send a Letter of Request to the
US Government in this regard in near future.