IAF to get four Super Hercules transport aircraft



New Delhi: Strengthening the special operations capability of Indian Air Force, four of the six C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft procured from the US under a USD 970-million deal will join the fleet by month end.

"Two aircraft are already here at the Hindon air base near here and two more would be joining our fleet by the end of this month," IAF officials said here.

The first aircraft was handed over to India by the US Air Force under a USD 970 million deal in mid-December last year and it was inducted into the IAF in February.

The aircraft will considerably enhance IAF's special missions capability and will also be used for transporting men and material, they said.

In 2008, 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 would also be pressed into service for transporting special forces from the capital to other places in the country in case need arises and reduce their response time as well.

The US government had offered a unique C-130J configuration 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 and landing in blackout conditions.

Special features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environment.

In addition, these aircraft will have refuelling probes, advance radar warning receivers and counter measure dispensing system for extended range and additional safety.

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.

PTI