It finally happened. The much awaited event that whole of nation was waiting to witness did happen on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway. As part of a special drill, the Indian Air Force landed its many cargo and fighter planed on the expressway in a bid to test its operational capabilities. Indian Air Force exercise is also being seen as preparations in wake of rising threat of China on the northern and eastern border of India.
A C130 plane with Garud commandos was the first to land, followed by touchdowns and low flybys by several Mirage and Sukhoi fighter jets. The other IAF fighter jets scheduled to touchdown are the Jaguars.
According to reports, the Indian Air Force does not want any of its jets to come to a standstill and only wants to practice its ability to fly low and touchdown on public roads.
The drill is being conducted near Bangarmau in Unnao by the IAF in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh state government. The expressway itself was inaugurated in November last year and the drill focuses on using public roads for tactical purposes during emergencies.
According to officials of the Road and Transport Ministry, 12 highways have been cleared for similar landing operations, with three of those connecting Maoist-affected areas in Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which also witness vagaries of nature like floods and cyclones almost every year.
Previously, 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 – on May 1 of 2016.