At least 20 aircraft of IAF have started landing on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. The exercise is being conducted to test the capability of the IAF to land its fighter jets on highways in the event of an emergency or in a war-like situation. According to the media reports. the drill is being conducted by the IAF in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Government, is witnessing participation from a C130 with Garud commandos for assault landing as well as three Jaguars, six Mirages, six Sukhoi in touch down and take off operation.
In a statement a defence official said, this is the first time that a transport aircraft will “land and then take off”, said a defence official. Twenty aircraft including AN-32 transport and fighter planes like Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Sukhoi 30 MKI will take part in the exercise.
“Two AN-32 planes will participate in the October 24 Expressway touchdown,” added the official. The landing stretch of the expressway is some 65 kilometres from Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow and to prepare the area for the mega show, vehicles have been barred from plying on the strip of the expressway. The highway will be closed for commuters till 2 pm.
In 2016, Minister of Road, Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari had announced the project and the formation of a committee to come up with specifications for highway stretches that can double up as airstrips.