This Article is From Nov 30, 2015

Air Force May Soon Land Fighter Planes on Highways

Air Force May Soon Land Fighter Planes on Highways

An Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 aircraft lands on the Yamuna Expressway near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.

New Delhi: Fighter jets will soon be landing at select highways in the country if the Indian Air Force has its way.

Encouraged by the successful landing of a Mirage 2000 fighter jet on the Noida-Agra expressway in May this year, the Air Force has written to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to allow it to land planes during peacetime for training 'once in a while', according to documents accessed by NDTV.

"All developed countries including US, Britain and Russia have highways on which they can land planes. As we expand our highways we can easily factor in landing zones," Defence Commentator Lt Gen (Retd) Shankar Prasad told NDTV.

The Air Force says there is also a need of speeding the process as not a single highway in Gujarat or Rajasthan can currently be used to land planes. Both states border Pakistan which has already tested two of its motorways to serve as runways for landing fighter jets.

The Air Force has in fact asked the transport ministry to help evolve Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs with states to quickly help convert highways to runways when the need arises. Typically, straight stretches of 3-4 kilometers are needed on highways which can be transformed into runways if the military runways get blocked.

India has more than 96 thousand kilometers of national highways which are being expanded and upgraded to take on the increasing road traffic. The Air Force wants to ensure that landing planes on highways across the country is soon a possibility.