Agra: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will conduct an exercise next week where a number of aircraft will land on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, officials said on Wednesday. The IAF aircraft will land on the stretch of the expressway near Bangarmau in Unnao district, some 65 kilometres from Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow, Gargi Malik Sinha, Public Relations Officer of Defence, Central Command told news agency.
“It is for the first time any transport aircraft will land and then take off (from a road). The AN-32s are meant for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief during floods or any other natural calamity,” Ms Sinha said. “The aircraft can bring a large amount of relief material. It can also help in evacuating people.”
Several countries allow their air force to practice landing on and take-off from large highways in order to ensure air operations continue even when an airbase has been knocked out by enemy forces or natural disaster. Switzerland has several such highways that can be used as landing strips by its air force.
The event is being organised by the Indian Air Force, together with the Uttar Pradesh government. The aircraft that will join the exercise include An-32 transport aircraft, and leading fighter jets in the IAF inventory including Su-30, Jaguar and Mirage 2000.
On May 21, 2016, a Mirage-2000 fighter plane of the IAF had touched down on the Yamuna Expressway as a display of capability to land fighter jets on highways.