Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate an emergency landing strip at Gandhav Bhakasar section on National Highway-925 in Barmer, Rajasthan, on Thursday for Indian Air Force (IAF) planes.
An IAF plane, carrying the two ministers, will conduct a mock emergency landing on the national highway on Thursday. NH-925 is India''s first national highway to be used for emergency landing of IAF aircraft.
According to an official statement, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed a 3-km section of Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A, as an emergency landing facility (ELF) for the IAF.
In October 2017, fighter jets and transport planes of the IAF had conducted mock landings on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway to show that such highways can be used by the IAF planes for landing in case of an emergency.
The Lucknow-Agra Expressway, which is not a national highway, comes under the Uttar Pradesh government.The emergency landing strip that will be inaugurated on Thursday, is part of newly developed two-lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar and Satta-Gandhav Section having total length of 196.97 km and costing Rs 765.52 crore under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.
This project will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international border, the official statement said, adding that the stretch being located in the western border area will facilitate the vigilance of the Indian Army as well as strengthen the basic infrastructure of the country.
The statement further said this is the first time that a national highway will be used for emergency landing by the IAF.
"Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari will Inaugurate Emergency Landing Field (ELF) and also witness aircraft operations on ELF on NH-925 on 09/09/2021 at Gandhav Bhakasar Section (NH-925) South of Barmer (Rajasthan," it said.
Apart from the Emergency Landing Strip, 3 helipads (size 100 x 30 metres each) have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages in this project, according to the requirements of the Air Force/Indian Army, which will be the basis for strengthening the Indian Army and security network on the western international border of the country.
According to the statement, during normal time the ELF will be used for smooth flow of road traffic and during the operations of ELF for 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 ELF was commenced in July 2019 and was completed in January 2021. The work was carried out by GHV India Pvt Ltd under the supervision of IAF and NHAI.
The statement noted that development of roadways as key infrastructure has led to construction of high quality highways and expressways that could be utilized as runways along with some modifications and construction of limited additional infrastructure for operation of various types of aircraft during emergency.