The Indian Air Force is planning to procure more Embraer business jets for its Delhi-based communication Squadron for ferrying VIPs.
The IAF plan to procure more VIP jets comes at a time when its purchase of 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers is under the scanner for alleged payments of kickbacks by its manufacturer AgustaWestland to secure the deal in its favour.
The IAF already has a fleet of four Embraer jets procured from Brazil in 2004-05 in a multi-million dollar deal and the aircraft are used by the force to fly the defence minister and the services chiefs. Cabinet ministers from other ministries also seek prime minister's approval to use the aircraft for official travel.
The IAF is planning to procure more Embraer jets for ferrying VVIPs as the duties of the Palam-based Communication Squadron have increased manifold in the last few years, IAF sources said.
The number of aircraft to be procured by the force for the purpose have not yet been finalised, they said.
The tainted deal for procuring VVIP choppers has been put on hold by Defence Minister A K Antony after the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini.
IAF's communication squadron also has three Boeing 737 jets for ferrying the President and the Prime Minister for short-distance travel in and around the country.
Modified Mi-8 choppers are used by the dignitaries to fly inside the country to places which are not connected by air strips.