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IAF chief Arup Raha reviews new hangar for Super Hercules

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C-130J Super Hercules aircraft

KOLKATA (PTI): Indian Air Force chief Air Marshal Arup Raha on Thursday reviewed a new hangar facility for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Air Force Station Arjan Singh in West Bengal's Panagarh.

Raha is on a two-day visit to the Eastern Air Command's area of responsibility from on Thursday, officials said.

As a turnkey project, Lockheed Martin, the US-based aircraft manufacturer, has built hangar facilities and other associated infrastructure as it was done in Hindon airbase for the military transport aircraft which can refuel mid-air.

The infrastructure is similar to the facilities built world over for Super Hercules tactical aircraft that IAF also operates since February 2011, officials said adding a new transport squadron will be raised at the Panagarh airbase, recently renamed AFS Arjan Singh, to operate the Super Hercules aircraft.

Presently, two AN-32 squadrons operate out of the Jorhat airbase in upper Assam, while a flight of Avro aircraft undertakes VIP communication duties from Borjhar airbase, Guwahati.

With the arrival of two aircraft from the Hindon-based 'Veiled Viper' squadron, IAF's second C-130J Super Hercules hub had become operational last year.

A batch of six C-130J aircraft will be handed over to the IAF by Lockheed Martin early next year.

A fly-past by a single C-130J Super Hercules flying in from Hindon was timed to coincide with the Air Chief's visit to the newly-built hangar facilities at the airbase even as another was parked at the tarmac for static display.

The Air Chief interacted with the air warriors of the airbase and officials of Lockheed Martin.

Raha will also visit other adjoining airbases of Kalaikunda, Salua and Purnea during his visit.

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