These planes are the most advanced transport aircraft with the air force, and the only ones with the capability to land and take off from unprepared runways in pitch dark.
What gives this aircraft the unique capability is that the air force had ordered special equipment including Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), Head Up Display (HUD) and navigational aids, that enables operations in very low visibility conditions.
The aircrafts which were ordered for $ 1 billion in 2008, will be the first to land with relief supplies and 200 NDRF personnel in Bagdogra, the nearest airbase to Sikkim.
Bagdogra airbase has been put on high alert and is likely to be the centre of all relief activities in Sikkim. While multiple aircrafts have been put on duty for relief operations, Sikkim does not have any landing strip for fixed wing aircraft and relies only on helicopters for aerial transport.
Sikkim has been hit by a spate of rainfall and bad weather that hit flying operations in the past few days. The supplies and men carried by the C 130 Js will be deployed by road for Sikkim within minutes of the aircraft landing in Bagdogra.