Six new air strips will be ready in Arunchal Pradesh by the end of 2015 to aid rapid military mobilisation.
The Air Force is setting up radars, air defence sensors and surface to air missiles in the North-East. This will be a long drawn process, but the good news is that the mud-paved British-era advanced landing grounds (ALGs) are being converted into regular concrete paved runaways to handle fixed wing transport planes.
These six ALGs will be force multipliers of future as special operations planes such as the C-130-J and C-17 will be able to operate from landing ground that dot various folds of the Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh. These planes can carry anything from troops to tanks and have all-weather flying abilities.
"In the next five years, the northeast will be sufficiently capable," Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha told the media yesterday. Six of the ALGs in the North-East will be ready by the end of 2015, he said, adding: "These are being expanded. We can run fixed wing operations and will aid in mobilisation," the IAF Chief said. The project of the six ALG's is expected to cost Rs 1,723 crore and is running four years behind schedule. It was originally conceived in 2008 as part of the Prime Minister special package for the North-East.
The scope of work includes expanding the length with regular landing surface allowing more types of planes to land. The existing mud-paved ALGs are too small in length and allow only very small aircraft to land and have a non-existent ground support. These are rendered unusable during rains.
The project will cover ALGs at Tuting, Mechuka, Pasighat, Along, Walong, Ziro and Tawang (helipad).
The IAF has based its Sukhoi30- MKI, the frontline fighter jets, at Tezpur, Chabua and Hasimara - all in the North-East.
Project to cost Rs 1,723 cr
The project of six mud-paved British-era advanced landing grounds is expected to cost Rs 1,723 crore
Special operations planes such as the C-130-J and the C-17 will be able to operate from the new air strips
The project will cover landing grounds at Tuting, Mechuka, Pasighat, Along, Walong, Ziro and Tawang (helipad)
- the tribune