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IAF to deploy Six C-130J Super Hercules in Orissa

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C-130 J Super Hercules. A Lockheed Martin photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): India will procure six C-130 J transport aircraft from the US and deploy them at the Charbatia air base in Orissa to cater to the requirements in the northeast and Andaman and Nicobar islands.

"We are going to place orders for six more C-130J aircraft which are going to be based in the eastern sector at the Charbatia air base," IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said at a press conference on Monday.

He said the six Special Operations aircraft will cater to the needs of the areas in the northeastern and eastern region along with the Anadaman and Nicobar islands.

Of the first six aircraft for which orders were placed under a USD one billion deal, five have been deployed at the Hindon air base near here and were the first ones to be used for Sikkim earthquake relief operations.

Browne said the IAF will start its drills in this regard with the Special Forces of the Indian Air Force, Para commandos of the Army and the National Security Guard (NSG) by November, when the last of the six aircraft ordered initially will arrive here.

The IAF chief said the order for the next six aircraft is expected to be finalised by January next year.

Browne said this was the first time in the history of IAF that all the ordered aircraft would have arrived much before the delivery schedule agreed for in the contract.

As per the original schedule, the aircraft were slated to arrive by the beginning of next year.

The C-130J is a Special Operations aircraft and is also used for ferrying troops and material. With capability of carrying 20-tonnes payload, the aircraft can land and take-off from short and unprepared runways.

To a query on the tussle between the Indian Army and the Air Force over the usage of attack helicopters, Browne said the two Services had signed an agreement in 1986 on the issue at the behest of the Defence Ministry.

As per the agreement, he said the IAF would have all types of medium, heavy and attack choppers and Army given the charge of light utility helicopters.

"As per that agreement, the command and control of attack choppers was to be with the Army but these squadrons were to be manned by the IAF personnel," he said.

He said the present two squadrons of the Mi-35 attack choppers and the 22 similar choppers to be procured in the near future would also be under the same arrangement.

Commenting on the inductions of Mi-17 V5 choppers from Russia, Browne said the first batch of four choppers has arrived ahead of the schedule and have been inducted in a squadron at Bhatinda in Punjab.

The IAF chief said the second squadron of the choppers will be based Srinagar air base by early next year.

Asked if the IAF was going to redeploy fighter aircraft at the Hindon airbase near here, he said the base had never ceased to be one and fighter aircraft have been deployed there.

Browne said once the Joint Command and Analysis Centre (JCAC) is established in the capital, fighter aircraft may start getting deployed there.

The proposal to set up JCACs was mooted in 2003 after the 9/11 attacks and under that a body comprising IAF and civil aviation officials was to be established.


IAF  C-130J  Orissa  
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