C-130J aircraft to arrive this week

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) Strengthening its capabilitiesfor carrying out Special Forces'' operations, the first US madeC-130J ''Hercules'' aircraft will join the Indian Air Force thisweek at the Hindan air base near here.

After the arrival of the first of the six C-130Js thatIndia has placed orders with the US, a formal inductionceremony will be held in February first week at the Hindan airbase itself before flying off to be displayed at the biennialAero India show, IAF officials said here.

The first aircraft was handed over to India by the USAir Force under a USD 970 million deal in mid-December lastmonth there.

The aircraft, expected to considerably enhance IAF''sspecial missions capability, will also be used fortransporting men and material, they said.

In 2008, India had purchased the aircraft under the USgovernment''s Foreign Military Sales route that includes anoffset clause under which the firm will invest 30 per cent ofthe deal amount back in Indian defence industry.

The aircraft will be based at Hindan in Ghaziabad justoutside the capital, where the infrastructure for itsdeployment has been completed.

The aircraft would also be pressed into service fortransporting Special Forces from the capital to other placesin the country in case need arises and reduce their responsetime as well.

Presently, 18 pilots, nine load masters and ninecombat system operators are being trained in the US.

The US government had offered a unique C-130Jconfiguration for special mission roles and these will be thefirst uniquely configured aircraft in the IAF fleet for itsspecial 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 survivabilityin hostile air defence environment.

In addition, these aircraft will have refuellingprobes, advance radar warning receivers and counter measuredispensing system for extended range and additional safety.

India is also planning to place orders for six moresimilar aircraft and likely to send a Letter of Request to theUS Government in this regard in near future.

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