Guess how many airplanes it will take for Obama to travel to India

This really seems absurd. Suppose that one is talking about Air Force One, several other large aircraft, and a small squadron of military planes offering protection. How much more do they need given that there is already a US Embassy with its staff and resources in India? What can you possibly put on 40 different airplanes?

The presidential entourage will have 40 aircraft, including the Air Force One that will ferry the president. There will be six armoured cars, including the Barack Mobile, a Cadillac. . . .

Three Marine One choppers will be reassembled in India to ferry Obama and his family. These helicopters will also assist in evacuation in case of an emergency. . . .

This might also be taking protection a little too far:

He will also be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his two-day stay there beginning Saturday. The measure has been taken as Mumbai attack in 2008 took place from the sea.. . . .

An estimate of the costs for one of the cities that Obama will visit is here:

A top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit has reckoned that a whopping $ 200 million (Rs 900 crore approx) per day would be spent by various teams coming from the US in connection with Obama's two-day stay in the city.
"A huge amount of around $ 200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit," the official said in Mumbai.
About 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany the President. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies are already in Mumbai for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.
Unprecedented security has been put in place both in Mumbai and New delhi.

India is also bearing some unusual costs in protecting Obama.

But as well as the usual security measures that come with welcoming a a visiting dignitary, Indian authorities have decided to go one step further, by removing all natural threats to the president as well.
All coconuts around the city's Gandhi museum, one of Mr Obama's stops in the city, are being taken down.
Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his freedom struggle against the British, is among five places the US president is visiting in Mumbai.
"We told the authorities to remove the dry coconuts from trees near the building. Why take a chance?" Mani Bhavan's executive secretary, Meghshyam Ajgaonkar, told the BBC.
Last week American security officers inspected Mani Bhavan and its surroundings along with other places the president is likely to visit. . . .

More on Obama's trip from The Times of India:

Commercial flights are likely to be delayed by at least an hour when Air Force One, with an escort of three aircraft and five helicopters, touches down at Mumbai airport on Saturday morning. Though officials have yet to receive communication on air-space closure, protocol calls for a gap six minutes during a VVIP visit.

No commercial or civil flight is allowed to land or take off three minutes prior to and after the scheduled time of arrival. In the US Presidents case, a longer hiatus between his aircraft and other flights is expected. TOI has learned that the Centre is considering extending it to ten minutes in order to secure the airport and the skies.

Even if the closure is for six minutes, one has to take into account the sheer number of aircraft in Obamas entourage, said an airport official. With nine aircraft, helicopters and planes, scheduled to land on Nov 6, air-space closure may last for at least 54 minutes.

After arriving at Mumbai airport, Obama is expected to fly to the air-base INS Shikra. "This means that we will have air-space closure for each VVIP aircraft that is landing and taking off. During this span, the movement of commercial flights will be highly restricted," said a source. . . . .

600 people will be guarding President Obama's hotel. In addition, "the city police has deployed more than 5,000 trained police personnel in the entire area around the Taj."

More from the UK Daily Mail.

American warships to patrol off Mumbai during visit
Coconuts removed from trees as a precaution
250 U.S. business executives with Obama on 'biggest ever trade mission'
$200million Asia trip cost denied but the President will have huge entourage . . .



Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

It does not sound absurd to I. Once one understands all of the logistical precautions that are taken for overseas POTUS flights, it does make sense.

Along with the helos, and vehicles, are enough food to feed the entire human contingent, as well as aircraft fuel tanker trucks that are filled here in the states and then sealed to ensure a safe fuel supply for all the aircraft. Add in fuel for the vehicles, and spares that may be needed.

Also, both Presidential 747's go, not just one.

These rules apply to all presidents, not just Obama.

As far as escort aircraft go, they are normally not used in U.S. airspace.

11/01/2010 1:33 PM  

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