New Delhi, Oct 21: In a major demonstration of its readiness to use expressways in the event of a war, the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets and transport aircraft will land and take off from a stretch of the Lucknow-Agra Expressway on October 24.
According to a senior IAF officer involved in planning and executing the October 24 exercise, the first plane to land on the expressway near Bangarmau in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh will be a C-130J Super Hercules with a team of the elite Garuds commados. The C-130J Super Hercules landing will showcase the ability of Garuds to carry out an assault behind the enemy lines.
After the Garuds land, a series of IAF fighters will touch and take off from the expressway. The first to do so will be three Jaguars, India’s only tactical nuclear bomb carrying and ground attack aircraft, followed by six Mirage 2000 in groups of three, and then six SU-30 MKIs. An AN-32 transport plane is also likely to be part of the touch and rake-off show. The show will end with the C-130 Super Hercules returning to extricate the Garud commandos.
The landing stretch of the expressway is some 65 kilometres from Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow and to prepare the area for the mega show, vehicles have been barred from plying on the strip of the expressway.
Expressways across the country, particularly in the northern and western parts of the country, are being readied to allow them being used as air strips by the IAF. Such stretches of expressways can be used if the enemy manages to destroy an airbase.
IAF had performed the first such touch down and take off in May 2015 when a Mirage 2000 fighter had performed the feat on the Yamuna Expressway near Delhi. Later in November 2016 IAF Su-30MKIs and Mirage 2000s had landed and taken off from the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.