Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari inaugurated an emergency landing strip at Satta-Gandhav stretch on National Highway in Rajasthan's Jalore on Thursday for Indian Air Force (IAF) planes.
The 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 conducted a mock emergency landing on the national highway on Thursday. NH-925 in Rajasthan's Barmer is India's first national highway to be used for emergency landing of IAF aircraft.
The two ministers also witnessed multiple aircraft operations on the emergency landing facility (ELF) of NH-295 on Thursday. Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet also conducted a mock emergency landing at the ELF in front of the two ministers.
An-32 military transport aircraft and Mi-17v5 helicopter of the IAF also landed at the ELF, showing its complete operational readiness to act as an auxiliary military airbase.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed the 3-km section of Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925 as an 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.
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had developed a three kilometers section of the Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A from Km. 41/430 to Km. 44/430 as an Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) for the Indian Air Force, which is part of the newly developed two-lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar and Satta-Gandhav Section having a total length of 196.97 kilometers and costing of Rs 765.52 crores under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
"This project will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international borders. The stretch is located in the western border area will facilitate the vigilance of the Indian Army as well as strengthen the basic infrastructure of the country," said the official statement.
Apart from this Emergency Landing Strip, 3 helipads (size 100 x 30 meters 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.
The ELF was constructed in a time span of 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.
"During the normal time, the ELF will be used for smooth flow of road traffic. But during the operations of ELF for Indian Air Force orders, the service road will be used for smooth flow of road traffic. It has been constructed in 3.5 Km length. This landing strip will be able to facilitate the landing of all types of aircraft of IAF," said the ministry.
The development of roadways as key infrastructure has led to the construction of high-quality highways and expressways that could be utilised as runways along with some modifications and construction of limited additional infrastructure for the operation of various types of aircraft during emergencies.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)
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