The induction ceremony was held at Hindon airbase
near the capital, witnessed by Defence Minister
A.K. Antony, IAF head Air Chief Marshal P V Naik
and US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer.
The aircraft, India's first such acquisition
from the US through the foreign military sales
route in decades, arrived at its new home at Hindon
airbase Jan 3. It was flown by an IAF crew to
India from Lockheed Martin's manufacturing facility
at Marietta in Georgia, US.
India had signed a $950 million contract for
six C-130Js in 2008. The other five aircraft are
scheduled for delivery one after the other by
the end of this year.
The IAF has raised a new squadron called 77 Squadron
to fly the aircraft. The squadron will be nicknamed
as Veiled Vipers with a motto "strike to
The induction of the C-130J is expected to make
Indian defence stronger in terms of its reaching
capabilities. The aircraft can bring to troops
what they need wherever they are located.
The four-engine turboprop plane can be used for
troop deployment, special operations, air-to-air
refuelling, disaster relief, and humanitarian
Its technology and configuration enables the
aircraft to perform precision low-level flying,
airdrops, and landing in blackout conditions.
The aircraft -- used in peacekeeping missions
in Africa and for tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia
-- has a maximum cruise speed of 355 knots or
660 kmph. The maximum takeoff weight is 75,390
kg and it can carry a maximum payload of 21,770
Antony said the induction of the transport aircraft
would take the joint warfare capability of the
India armed forces to "greater heights".
"The C130J will add more muscle to the IAF
to perform its mandate
In view of the security
situation in the neighbourhood, India needs a
credible and strong armed forces to meet the requirements
of peace and stability."
He said the induction of the C-130J is an example
of the government's commitment to "provide
best possible equipment to armed forces and maintain
qualitative edge at all times".
Air force chief Naik termed the C130-J induction
as "a milestone in the modernization and
transformation process of the IAF to enhance its
capability to meet future challenges".
Ambassador Roemer after the induction said the
sale of the C-130J to the IAF "on-time and
on-budget is exactly the type of win-win situation
President (Barack) Obama talked about during his
visit to India last November".
"A strong defence relationship is a key
component of the US-India strategic partnership.
The sale of the aircraft strengthens our bilateral
military relationship and enhances joint regional
security efforts between our two democracies."
Pics: Dipak Das (DPR)