The IAF’s Mirage 2000 successfully landed on Yamuna expressway near Mathura on Thursday.It’s a kind of first for military aviation in India.The aircraft landed at about 6:40am, senior IAF officers said, adding that the force has plans to activate more such stretches on highways in the future.
The IAF has been considering the use of national highways for emergency landing by fighter aircraft.For Thursday’s trial, all facilities like make shift air traffic control, safety services, rescue vehicles, bird clearance parties and other requirements were set in place by the IAF.”The operation was conducted in coordination with district magistrates and superintendents of police of Agra and Mathura,” an IAF statement said.
The aircraft first made a practice approach on the highway coming down to 100 metres before landing on the next approach.IAF officials said such landings can be carried out in emergencies if an active airport is not available under certain circumstances.Road runways are used for emergency landing and become important if airbases are crippled during war times.
At present, countries such as Germany, Poland, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, Singapore and Pakistan have dedicated stretches on their expressways and highways for airplanes to land and take off in case of an emergency.On condition of anonymity, a senior IAF officer said, “During the 1971 war, couple of Pakistani jets did manage to reach Agra to execute bombardments, which never happened. The stretch on Agra-Lucknow expressway will provide additional strategic points to air power, in case any emergency situation happens during conflict or at peace time.”