To test the logistic strength of the country’s armed forces in responding quickly to an emergency or a natural disaster condition, the Indian Air Force conducted a grand air drill this morning near Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. As many as 20 IAF fighter jets participated in the touch-down drill, with the highlight being that it was conducted not on any specialized air strip but on the Lucknow-Agra expressway that was inaugurated just last year.
In doing so, India joined a host of other countries, which includes China, Germany, Sweden and Singapore, who have successfully tested or turned expressways into runways for fighter jets to land in emergency situations.
In fact, early in March last year, the Indian Air Force informed that new public roads will have to be designed in such a way that they can double up as runways for its warplanes, especially keeping in mind emergency situations when air bases may be either busy, unaccessible or under enemy attack.
The IAF has also firmed plans about such emergency airstrips, which include swift identification of road locations, minimum infrastructure requirement and portable logistics support.
The IAF has been conducting operations and drills similar of the kind conducted today for quite some time. In May 2015, the IAF landed one of its front-line aircraft, the IAF Mirage-2000, on Yamuna expressway, just a few kilometers from the Indian capital. In this particular drill, all facilities such as make shift Air Traffic Control, safety services, rescue vehicles, bird clearance parties and other requirements were set up by IAF personnel from Air Force Station Agra.