Testing Their War Preparedness, IAF Fighter Planes & Jets land at Lucknow – Agra Expressway
New Delhi : Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out major landing operations on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, about 60 km west of Lucknow, today. The series of landings took place close to Bangarmau in Unnao District of Uttar Pradesh, where a 3 km stretch was specially prepared for such operations. A total of sixteen aircraft participated in the operation which comprised IAF’s frontline Air Superiority Fighters including the Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar fighter aircraft. These aircraft took off from Bareilly, Gwalior and Gorakhpur respectively. In addition, the IAF carried out drills in which Garud Commandos were inserted and extricated for ground operations, by the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft which took off from Hindon airbase.
The exercise commenced with an impressive short landing by the C-130 which on its landing roll itself started off loading the Garud Commandos and their vehicle in manoeuvre called Combat ERO (Engine Running Offload). Immediately on disembarking from the C-130, the Commandos took up position on either side of the airstrip to cordon it off for the fighter operations. This was followed by two sets of 3-3 Mirages, five SU30s and three Jaguars. All 14 fighter aircraft carried out a roller/touch and go manoeuvre on the expressway. The C-130 then returned for another short landing to extricate the Garud Commandos.
IAF had already carried out landings by fighter aircraft for the first time on the Yamuna expressway on 21 May 2015. The stretch of Agra – Lucknow expressway was earlier activated for the first time for IAF operations in November 2016 in which six fighter aircraft of the IAF landed on the expressway. However, in this exercise, IAF included the Jaguar fighter aircraft for the first time. Also for the first time, IAF’s C-130J transport aircraft participated in highway landing operations for insertion and extrication of Garud Special Forces. While the operations on 24 October 2017 required the closure of the portion of the expressway for road traffic, through the excellent support of the UP State Government and UPEIDA, once the planned works are completed, such road traffic closure will not be required henceforth.
Several countries like Germany, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, Singapore, Czechoslovakia, Pakistan, etc. have dedicated stretches on their highways and expressways for aircraft to land and take off in emergencies or war like events.