Lucknow: What could be termed as a historical event, 8 Indian Air Force fighter jets will touch down on Agra-Lucknow expressway on its grand opening on November 21, the eve of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s 78th birthday.
UP expressways industrial development authority CEO Navneet Sehgal confirmed this to TOI. He said, “All arrangements have been made to conduct the grand inauguration. A squadron of eight fighter jets will land and take off from the newly constructed expressway.”
A dream project of UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, the 302-km expressway, which has been completed in a record time of 22 months and has cost Rs 13,200 crore, will get operational by December.
On Saturday, several officials including Sehgal and Air Vice Marshal Rajesh Issar, senior officer administration of Central Air Command inspected the expressway stretch in Bangarmau of Unnao district, for the event.
Though IAF official source on anonymity said, “To conduct safe landings of eight fighter jets, necessary safety requirements such as bird clearance, safety services, rescue vehicles and temporary air traffic control need to be set up.”
According to UPEIDA source, “A dedicated 2 km stretch has been built for war-like emergencies on the expressway, though we have also ensured that eco-system on the stretch is not disturbed.”
Last year in the month of May, in a first for military aviation in the country, IAF successfully landed a French Dassault Mirage-2000 fighter jet on the Yamuna Expressway near Raya village, Mathura, as a part of elaborate trials to see how many other highways can be used for war-like emergencies.
At present, countries such as Germany, Poland, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, Singapore, Czechoslovakia and Pakistan have dedicated stretches on their expressways and highways for aeroplanes to land and take off in the case of an emergency.