As part of its trials to use national highways for emergency purposes, the IAF’s Mirage 2000 has successfully landed on Yamuna Expressway near Mathura on Thursday.
It has been reported earlier that a stretch of the Agra-Lucknow expressway in Uttar Pradesh will become a road runway to combat jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF), a first such innovation for military aviation in this country.
The IAF was in talks with officials to convert the nearly 3-km stretch into a road runway. Further, the IAF gave its proposals to the UP government after verifying the details of the Agra-Lucknow expressway and the entire cost of this project will be borne by the air force wing of the defence ministry.
Sources said the segment to be used as a road runway will have to be straight, level and located on non-undulating ground without any slope.
The road runway segment will not have electricity poles, masts or mobile phone towers. There will be portable ground lighting systems that can be quickly placed on the roadsides to guide aircraft during landings.
China, Pakistan, Sweden, Germany and Singapore are among the countries that have road runways, but this will be a first for India. Road runways assume importance if airbases are crippled during hostilities.
The Pakistan Air Force has demonstrated its ability to land a range of combat and transport aircraft on the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway. During an exercise in 2010, two fighter jets landed on the motorway.
The 308-km Agra-Lucknow expressway is expected to cost Rs 13,000 crore. It will pass through Firozabad, Shikohabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Kannauj and Mohanlalganj..