The Indian Air Force performed a breath taking touch-and-go landings of 20 Air Force aircrafts on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway. These aircrafts included fighter jets and transport carriers of the Indian Air Force, and this was the first time that any air force transport carrier was landed on an expressway.
The 35,000kg Super Hercules, AN-32 transport, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi 30 MKI are few of the 20 IAF aircrafts that were a part of the drill that included brief landing and take-off from an expressway. The ambitious exercise was conducted at the Lucknow-Agra Expressway near Bangarmau in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, today. Garud Special Forces commandos conducted the entire touchdown and take-off exercise to show and make sure that these combat aircrafts are capable of making landings and take-offs from highways and expressways in cases of emergency; or when any airbase is stripped off.
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Transport aircrafts are meant for humanitarian assistance and relief operations during calamities and emergencies – so they are generally bigger and heavier in size, as compared to the jets and combat aircrafts, which makes it tough to make touchdowns – especially on highways. But the talented trained Garuda commandos handled the entire exercise flawlessly. The drill lasted for three full hours on a run stretching across 3.3km on the expressway; oh and each of these planes costs Rs 900 Crores. With such a simulation, the commandos get practical training so that during emergent conditions, situations can be handled efficiently and effectively.
The Indian Air Forces hopes that many more roads, highways and expressways will now be designed in such a way that they can serve as runways for the force aircrafts and warplanes. This will provide an alternative to launch urgent military operations if key airbases are bombed or are unavailable. It was a great show of efficiency and skill of the air force as well as an experience for common people; I mean, we don’t get to watch air force warplanes landing on regular roads too often, do we?