This drill is undertaken as part of Government’s initiative to identify and develop highways which could be used as runways during emergency situations.
In a breakthrough exercise, the Lucknow-Agra Expressway doubled up as a landing strip during a drill conducted by the Indian Air Force in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh government, on Tuesday. As many as 20 aircrafts including French Dassault Mirage-2000, Jaguar, Sukhoi-30 MKI, C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and AN-32 transport participated in the exercise.
The operation took-off with C-130 Hercules landing on the expressway with special force commandos. The Special Forces commandos were dropped off and then extricated later when the C-130 returns for another short landing.
This is the first time that a transport aircraft has participated in such an exercise. This means that in future, expressways would be used for humanitarian assistance during floods or any other natural calamity.
12 highways including maoist affected areas of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh have been similarly equipped to double up as landing zones. Since these areas are prone to cyclones and floods, this new initiative will become a milestone for disaster relief operations.
Earlier, Mirage-2000 fighter Jet had undertaken a similar touch-down drill on Yamuna expressway near Delhi on May 21, 2016.