20 fighter jets of India Air Force carried out emergency landing drill on Lucknow – Agra Expressway
Several fighters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on yesterday performed some breathtaking touch-and-go landing drills on a 4-kilometre stretch of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district, displaying the air force’s capability to use highways for airplanes in case of an emergency situation. Over a dozen of IAF warplanes including top-of-the-line Sukhoi-30 MKI, Mirage 2000s, AN-32 and C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft weighing 35,000 kg, took part in a four-hour-long exercise on the highway, around 65 km from Lucknow.
The overall airplane count was as follows: C130J Super Hercules with IAF Garud commandos for an assault landing, three Jaguars, Six Mirage 2000s (in two batches of three each), Six SU 30MKIs (in two batches of three each) in a touchdown and take off operation. This is the first time that the C-130J heavy-lift transport aircraft joined the Indian Air Force’s special drill to land planes on the expressway.
The drill was conducted as an emergency situation when airbases, the first target of bombs and missiles, would not be available for air operations, alternatively use of highways as landing strips. Garud commandos of the IAF’s special forces, landed along with their vehicle in a Super Hercules, securing a landing zone as part of the exercise. The transport aircraft then took off.
The commandos took “positions” on either side of the expressway to secure “the airstrip” for the fighter aircrafts.The top-of-the-line fighter Sukhoi 30MKIs and Mirage 2000s took off after touching down on the highway.
According to officials of the Road and Transport Ministry, 12 highways have been cleared for emergency landing operations. The initial proposal was to develop 21 NH into airstrips but so far only 12 have been cleared of which 3 will connect Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh.
All You Need to know about C130J Super Hercules of Indian Air Force
Built by US Aerospace major Lockheed Martin, the C130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft which can be used for a variety missions such as special operations, peacekeeping, combat delivery, low-intensity conflict, disaster relief, search & Rescue (SAR) and humanitarian missions. India had recently inducted Six C130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were bought from the US at the cost of around Rs 6,000 crore (USD 1.1 billion) three years ago.