IAF drill: Fighter jets, aircraft touch down on Lucknow-Agra Expressway
The Indian Air Force on Tuesday began its drill to touchdown 20 aircraft on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.
This was the first time that any transport aircraft landed and then took off from an expressway.
AN-32 transport, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi 30 MKI are among the aircraft that are part of the drill conducted near Bangarmau in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh.
The Indian Air Force wants new public roads to be designed to serve as runways for its warplanes, providing an alternative for launching operations if key airfields are bombed out by the enemy.
12pm: About 15 fighter jets -- including three Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft, two formations of three aircraft each of Mirage 2000s and two formations of three aircraft each of Sukhoi-30 -- touched down or made low overshoot over the highway.
The exercise culminated with the C-130 J returning for another short landing.
11:10am: A Sukhoi 30 MKI touchdown on the Expressway.
The IAF has contracted 272 Su-30 MKI fighter planes out of which nearly 240 have been delivered. The remaining 32 fighters are likely to be inducted over the next three years.
The first 50 jets came in ready from Russia, the remaining were and are being built under licence by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Seven Su-30 jets have crashed since 2009, while one is still listed as missing. The IAF inducted its first Su-30 fighter at the Lohegaon air base in Pune in June 1997.
11am: A crowd has gathered to watch the IAF exercise in Unnao.
10:40am: A Mirage 2000 fighter jet lands on the Expressway.
The aircraft was inducted into the IAF in the mid-80s and has proven its sound flight safety record. A Mirage 2000 can fly from Gwalior to Delhi in less than 15 minutes.
10:35am: The first transport aircraft, a C-130J Hercules, lands and takes off on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.
It was a short landing trailed by Garud commandos and their vehicles. On disembarking from the aircraft, the commandos took position on either side of the ‘air strip’ to cordon it off for fighter operations.
All about C-130J Super Hercules
The aircraft, powered by four Rolls Royce engines, can be used for a variety of missions such as special operations, combat delivery, peacekeeping, low intensity conflict, search and rescue, disaster relief and humanitarian missions.
Built by US aerospace major Lockheed Martin, it can carry out precision low-level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions. It is operated by 15 countries including the air forces of the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Italy.