''Hercules'' to be inducted in IAF on Feb 5

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New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) Boosting its Special Operationscapabilities, the Indian Air Force will formally induct itsfirst C-130 J ''Hercules'' transport aircraft on February 5.

The aircraft is likely to arrive in the country by theend of this month and would be formally inducted into the IAFat a ceremony at its home base Hindan air base near here onFebruary 5, IAF officials said here.

The first of the six aircraft procured by India under aUSD 970 million deal was handed over to IAF in mid-December.

The aircraft is expected to enhance IAF''s special missionscapability along with transporting men and material.

India had purchased the aircraft under the US government''sForeign Military Sales route that includes an offset clauseunder which the firm will invest 30 per cent of the dealamount 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.

The US government had offered a unique C-130Jconfiguration modified for special mission roles and thesewill be the first uniquely configured aircraft in the IAFfleet for its special operations.

The aircraft will be able to perform precision low-levelflying, air drops, and landing in blackout conditions. Specialfeatures are included to ensure aircraft survivability inhostile air defence environment.

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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