Improving the Air Force’s disaster preparedness in remote mountainous areas of Arunachal Pradesh, a trial landing of military transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster has been successful in Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground. IAF officials said at an elevation of 6,200 feet above mean sea level and with a landing surface only 4,200 feet long, a trial landing was carried out by the mighty C-17 Globemaster aircraft yesterday thereby validating its short field landing performance at high altitude.
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This operation demonstrated the IAF’s capability to reach out to this remote ALG (Advanced Landing Ground) located just 29 km from the Sino-Indian border. The ALG at Mechuka in the Yargyap river valley of West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh had been upgraded recently.
The road connectivity to the nearest air and rail head at Dibrugarh, about 500 km away, is generally two days of travel, unless the roads get damaged due to frequent landslides.
“This is a quantum jump from the existing capability of An-32 and C-130J aircraft. Such airlift capability facilitates speedy transfer of men and material in this rugged terrain, interspersed with valleys and high mountain ranges that inhibit road connectivity,” officials said.
In the event of a disaster in the region, C-17 operations to the remote ALG can enhance the speed and quantum of national relief effort.
“IAF has plans to validate airlift operations to and from various ALGs in the region that would usher in a new dimension in enhanced disaster response,” they said.
This trial landing is expected to pave the way for operation of civil flights operating to and from the newly upgraded ALGs, which has an enormous potential to boost tourism by improving connectivity to remote locations in the northeast, officials said.