Now, IAF plans to land its cargo planes on Agra-Lucknow Expressway on Air Force Day
The IAF landed seven of its Sukhoi and Mirage 2000 planes on the Unnao section of the expressway in November last year.
After two successful touchdowns by its fighter jets on expressways in Uttar Pradesh last year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will attempt to land its transport planes on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway in October.
The landing is likely to be scheduled on the Air Force Day that falls on October 8.
A state government spokesperson said the IAF was in talks with them and was preparing to land its cargo planes on the road-runway on the expressway.
This will be the first time that a transport aircraft will land on the road in India.
The IAF has a variety of transport planes, and it is not known yet which ones it will use for the road landing.
Some of the prominent transport aircrafts that the IAF has in its fleet are: The giant ones--IL 76, Hercules, or Boeing C-17 Globemaster that have prime purpose of strategic/tactical transport; then IL-78 for aerial refuelling; AN 32; Boeing 737 for VIP transport, and several more.
The Agra-Lucknow Expressway has India’s first road runway. The IAF landed seven of its Sukhoi and Mirage 2000 planes on the Unnao section of the expressway in November and on the airstrip at Saifai village (Etawah) in May last year.
The 3.3-km stretch of the 302-km expressway can be used to land fighter jets and transport planes in emergencies when the military airfields are not available.
Till now, the IAF has not landed its planes on roads in any other state.
The Agra-Lucknow Expressway was built at a cost of Rs 13,200-crore in 22 months by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government. The six-lane expressway is India’s longest and can be expanded to eight lanes.
The IAF funded the construction expenses of the road-runway section which was constructed based on the specification it gave. It also selected the site of the runway.
The road-runway is built on an entirely evenly levelled stretch of land and has no tall structures anyway near it. The runaway also does not have any dividers, telephone towers, or lighting masts. There is excess land on both sides of the road for deployment of support systems for landing.
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