Air Force Planes Land On Highway Near Lucknow In 2-Hour Drill: 10 Points

This is the first time that the C-130J transport aircraft is joining the Indian Air Force's special drill to land planes on the expressway. The IAF had earlier landed its fighter jets, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi-30, on the Yamuna Expressway and the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.

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Air Force Planes Land On Highway Near Lucknow In 2-Hour Drill: 10 Points

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Indian Air Force landed 16 aircrafts on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway today

LUCKNOW:  Sixteen planes of the Indian Air Force performed breathtaking landings and touch-and-go manoeuvres on a stretch of the Lucknow-Agra Expressway today. A 35,000 kg C-130J Super Hercules aircraft landed first with Garud Special Forces commandos to secure the landing zone as part of the drill. Fighter jets including top-of-the-line Sukhoi 30s and Mirage 2000s did not come to a full stop like the Hercules, but instead took off after touching down. The two-hour exercise simulated an emergency situation when airbases, the first target of bombs and missiles, won't be available and highways have to be used as landing strips.
Here are the 10 points on this story:
  1. The aircraft touchdown exercise took place on the stretch near Bangarmau in Unnao district, about 65 km from Uttar Pradesh's capital Lucknow.
  2. Once the IAF's Special Forces Garud commandos got off the C-130J transport aircraft with their vehicle, they took positions on either side of the expressway to secure "their airstrip" for the fighter aircraft.
  3. This is the first time a transport aircraft - a Super Hercules, which can carry 200 commandos - landed on an expressway. Inducted into the air force in 2010, each plane costs nearly Rs. 900 crore.
  4. For the next two hours, a fighter aircraft carried out touch and go manoeuvres on the expressway every few minutes.
  5. Six Mirage 2000 aircraft flying in two formations were followed by formations of the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft. Three Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft ended the drill for the fighter aircraft
  6. The C-130 returned for another short landing to extricate the Garud Commandos.
  7. "It has been very successful. There have been no problems, no hitches. It's not the amount, nor the scale of aircraft. It is the improvement of our operational capabilities. In future, whenever there is a requirement, we can use this stretch to do whatever we have to do," said Air Marshal AS Butola.
  8. IAF fighter planes, Mirage-2000 fighters and Sukhoi-30, have twice landed on expressways in Uttar Pradesh. The first was in 2015 when a Mirage-2000 landed on the Yamuna expressway near Delhi.
  9. Last November, six multirole combat aircraft Sukhoi-30 jets touched down on a 3.3 km stretch of the Lucknow - Agra expressway. The Sukhoi-30 MKI, which forms the backbone of the IAF's fighter fleet, is capable of mid-air refueling. The air force has over 270 aircraft.
  10. About a dozen highways that are wide enough and have a smooth road surface for the fighter jets - across the country have been identified for similar landing operations to be used in case of emergencies including disaster relief and war.


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