Union Minister Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari inaugurated an emergency landing strip for Indian Air Force planes on National Highway 925A’s Satta-Gandhav stretch in Rajasthan’s Barmer. It is India’s first National Highway to be used as an emergency landing strip for IAF aircrafts. While inaugurating the emergency landing strip, several Indian Air Force planes and helicopters demonstrated landing. The first plane to land on the air strip was a C-130J Super Hercules Transport aircraft. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria arrived at the site in the Hercules transport aircraft. Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat was also present at the event to witness the emergency landing demonstration.
After C-130J had landed, other Indian Air Force aircrafts like Sukhoi-30 MKI and Jaguar fighter aircrafts demonstrated emergency landing on the Emergency Landing Field (ELF) on the National Highway. The Jaguar aircraft touches the airstrip and takes off immediately. The Sukhoi-30 MKI became the first fighter aircraft to have landed and take off from the ELF showcasing its capabilities. This ELF can act as an auxiliary military airbase in case of an emergency.
NHAI or National Highways Authority of India has prepared a 3 km stretch on Satta-Gandhav area on NH-925A for Emergency Landing Field. This is not the first time, something like this has happened in India. In 2017, Indian Air Force had demonstrated landing on Agra-Lucknow Expressway to show that such highways can be utilised for landing in case of an emergency. Couple of Mi 17 helicopters also took off from the ELF before inauguration as part of rehearsals.
This newly inaugurated landing strip is located in western border area. It will now be easier for the Army to keep an eye on this area and will also improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts on the international border.
Speaking at the event, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said, “Whenever an out-of-the-box idea is proposed, apprehensions emerge. But glad for the support from the Defence Ministry and Air Force that has led to the successful launch of this 3-km long road-cum-air strip.”
Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh said, NHAI is preparing or developing emergency landing strips or ELF at 20 locations and they are also building helipads. He congratulated Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for making the Emergency Landing Field a possibility. He also added that the recently inaugurated Emergency Landing Field will not only be useful at the time of war but, can also be used to carry out rescue and relied operations during natural disasters. The minister also added that the ELF show that India is capable to deal any challenge.
Another important decision that was taken by government recently was the approval for procurement of 56 transport aircrafts for Rs 22,000 crore for Indian Air Force. Defence minister also mentioned that this is a historic decision as it will be the first time that a private Indian firm will be participating in manufacturing in the aviation field.
Via: Times Now