In a bid to test the usability of existing roads as runways for its fighter jets, the Indian Air Force (IAF) landed one of its frontline aircraft on the Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh, just a few kilometers from Delhi on Thursday morning. The IAF Mirage-2000, which got airborne from one of the bases in central India, touched down at the expressway for a few seconds and then took off again leaving hundreds of onlookers surprised and puzzled.This is being seen as a part of an exercise that the IAF has been doing for the past few days to see where they can take off or land from highways during emergency situations.
All facilities like 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.
To ensure a glitch-free exercise, the IAF coordinated with the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of Agra and Mathura, following which necessary tie up was carried out for activation of the selected stretch. The aircraft made a practice approach on the highway, coming down to a height of 100 meters before landing off during the next approach.An IAF press release said the operations were conducted with active support from the government of Uttar Pradesh, Yamuna Expressway Authority, Toll authorities of JP Infratech and police.
A large number of police personnel were stationed along the stretch where the exercise took place. Senior IAF officials were also present to witness the landing and take off.
The IAF has plans to activate more such stretches on highways in the future.
Several countries like Germany, Poland, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, Singapore, Czechoslovakia and Pakistan have dedicated stretches on their expressways and highways for airplanes to land and take off in emergency or war like events.