IAF-s-Mirage-2000-successfully-landed-on-Yamuna-Expressway-near-Mathura-on-Thursday-Photo-courtesy-IAF
IAF-s-Mirage-2000-successfully-landed-on-Yamuna-Expressway-near-Mathura-on-Thursday-Photo-courtesy-IAF

IAF's Mirage-2000 lands on Yamuna eway in successful runway trial

The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully landed a Mirage-2000 on the Yamuna Expressway near Mathura on Thursday as part of its trials to use national highways for emergency landing by fighter aircraft.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 21, 2015 10:07 PM IST

The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test landed a Mirage-2000 on the Yamuna Expressway near Mathura on Thursday as part of its trials to use national highways and civil airstrips for emergency landing by its fighter jets in future.

"The aircraft made a practice approach on the highway, coming down to a height of 100 metres before landing off the next approach. The operations were conducted with active support from the government of Uttar Pradesh, Yamuna Expressway Authority, toll authorities of JP Infratech and the civil police," the IAF said in a statement soon after the landing.

"The IAF has plans to activate more such stretches on highways in the future," it added.

Video:IAF jet lands on runway

This first ever road landing by the IAF came close to Saturday's test landing by two Mirage-2000 aircraft on an airstrip in Saifai village in Etawah.

Hindustan Times was the first to report about the deal between IAF and the state government to convert the upcoming Agra-Lucknow Expressway as India's first road runway and the Saturday's landing.

The Uttar Pradesh government had given a green signal on May 11 to convert a 3 km stretch of the upcoming Agra-Lucknow Expressway into a full-fledged road runway to the air force.

Just as the Saifai landings, the IAF kept the operation secret and only took the authorities concerned on board. The IAF had prohibited all kinds of photography—still or video and deployed its photographers and videographers.

The Mirage-2000, a single-engine fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by France's Dassault Aviation, that landed on the expressway reportedly took off from the Gwalior squadron of the IAF as did the two others that landed in Saifai.

The multi-role combat jet landed close to 118 milestone of the Yamuna Expressway at about 6:40am.

The exercise was done in coordination with the district magistrates and superintendents of police Agra and Mathura and necessary tie up was carried out for activation of the selected stretch, the statement said.



The Mirage-2000 touches down on Yamuna Expressway. (Photo courtesy: IAF)

The air force had deployed its portable truck-borne instrumentations as well as nearly 100 technical ground personnel to guide and assist the landing. It had also deployed firefighters and ambulances to deal with any emergency.

The Central Air Command, in a meeting with UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday, had made a formal presentation to the state government about converting a 3 km straight stretch of the upcoming Agra-Lucknow expressway into India's first road runway.

The IAF will develop that stretch according to its standards and technology and would bear the cost of the project.

The air force will do a site selection for the road runway as it wants that particular stretch of the road to be straight, level, located at a non-undulating round without any slope and also free of waterlogging and free of floods.

The road runway segment will not have electricity poles, masts or mobile phone towers. There will be portable ground lighting systems that can be quickly placed on the roadsides to guide aircraft during landings.

China, Pakistan, Sweden, Germany and Singapore are among the countries that have road runways, but this was a first for India. Road runways assume importance if airbases are crippled during hostile situations.

The Pakistan Air Force demonstrated its ability to land a range of combat and transport aircraft on the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway. During an exercise in 2010, two of its fighter jets landed on the motorway.

The 308km Agra-Lucknow expressway is expected to cost Rs 13,000 crore. It will pass through Firozabad, Shikohabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Kannauj and Mohanlalganj.

The road runway segment will not have electricity poles, masts or mobile phone towers. There will be portable ground lighting systems that can be quickly placed on the roadsides to guide aircraft during landings.

China, Pakistan, Sweden, Germany and Singapore are among the countries that have road runways, but this was a first for India. Road runways assume importance if airbases are crippled during hostile situations.

The Pakistan Air Force demonstrated its ability to land a range of combat and transport aircraft on the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway. During an exercise in 2010, two of its fighter jets landed on the motorway.

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