National Highway to be aid Emergency landing of IAF’s aircraft

Story Highlights
  • IAF completed an 'emergency field landing' on a national highway in Rajasthan.
  • The work for ELF was carried out by GHV India Pvt Ltd under the supervision of IAF and NHAI.
  • 'Field landing' was done to test the quality of road infrastructure.

Rajasthan: Indian Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, carrying Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Roadways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, completed an ’emergency field landing’- part of a readiness drill by the armed forces – on a national highway in Rajasthan’s Barmer today. Mr Singh said after the event, “… want to congratulate everyone. Where you normally see cars and trucks, now you see planes… This is important because this place witnessed the war in 1971… the international border is near. An emergency landing field, or ELF, instils confidence and proves India is always ready to protect its sovereignty and its integrity…”.

The Defence Minister added, “This is not only for war… but also relief and rescue work, for which helipads have been developed. A natural disaster, like Covid, is no less than war. Be it war or natural disaster… the IAF is always there.” This project will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international border, the official statement said. The statement further said this is the first time that a national highway will be used for emergency landing by the IAF. The statement also stated during the normal time the ELF will be used for smooth flow of road traffic and during the operations of it the IAF, the service road will be used for smooth flow of road traffic.

The ELF was constructed in 19 months. The work for this project started in July 2019 and was completed in January 2021. It was carried out by GHV India Pvt Ltd under the supervision of IAF and NHAI. The statement noted that the development of roadways as key infrastructure has led to the construction of high-quality highways and expressways that could be utilized as runways along with some modifications and construction of limited additional infrastructure for the operation of various types of aircraft during emergencies. The ‘field landing’ of the C-130J Super Hercules (followed by fighter aircraft like Jaguars and Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs landing and taking off), is to test the quality of road infrastructure as emergency airstrips in the event of rescue or times when airbases – the enemy’s first targets in a war – may not be available and highways have to be used as landing strips.

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