Sino-Indian border to become accessible soon

Sino-Indian border to become accessible soon

To improve connectivity on the Sino-Indian border, the Air Force plans to activate seven advanced landing grounds (ALG) in the north east within the next three years, besides upgrading two operational airfields in Jammu and Kashmir for handling fighter and cargo operations.

“The Rs 720-crore work on upgrading seven ALGs in the north east commenced last week. We hope to land the first aircraft by 2016,” Indian Air Force Chief N A K Browne said here on Friday on the eve of the 81st Air Force Day.

The seven ALGs include Passighat, Mechuka, Walong, Tuting and Ziro – all in Arunchal Pradesh. Another Arunachal ALG, Vijaynagar, was reactivated in 2011 when an AN-32 landed there. IAF flights to Vijaynagar were discontinued in 2009 due to poor condition of the runway made out of pierced steel plate sheets. When the centre decided to reactivate the landing strips, extensive repairs were undertaken and the entire runway surface was renovated to facilitate regular air maintenance.

The airfield – situated on the easternmost tip of the country at the tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar, is capable of operating IAF's latest and most advanced C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. “Both C-130J and AN-32 military transport aircraft will land in the north east airfields. There will be operations in the night as well,” said the IAF chief.

In Jammu and Kashmir, IAF intends to overhaul two airstrips making them capable of handling both fighter and heavy duty carriers like C-17 Globemaster-III.

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