IAF plans highway landing of its fighters next week

IAF plans highway landing of its fighters next week
Indian Air Force plans to land several of its fighter and transport aircraft on the Agra-Lucknow express-way next week to train the pilots on emergency landing.

Allhabad-based Central Air Command intends to land multiple aircraft including Mirage and Jaguar fighters on the highway on October 24, defence ministry sources said.

This would be the third highway landing for IAF in the last two years. Previously Yamuna Express way, which connects Delhi to Agra, and Lucknow-Agra express way were used by the force for some of its combat jets to touch down.

After discussions with several state governments, IAF identified 22 road segments where light weight fighters and transport aircraft can land.

The first such landing took place on the Yamuna Express way in May 2015 when an IAF's Mirage test landed after taking off from Gwalior.

Some of India's neighbours use highways as landing strips. While Myanmar has vast experience in this area, Pakistan Air Force used a piece of the highway between Lahore and Islamabad for its J-17 jet's touch down and take-off .

During the 1971 Bangladesh war, PAF planned using the roads of Dhaka as temporary runway. But it could not implement the plans due to the presence of electrical wires on both sides of the road, obstructing the aircraft.

A fighter aircraft's touch down and take off from a public road is a challenging task because of narrow margin of error for fighter jet operation and poor load bearing capacity of most of the Indian roads.

But the IAF wants to prepare its pilots with more emergency landing skills because air bases are one of the first targets of an enemy attack in case of war. In such a situation, highways can be used as a back-up runway.
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