In A bid to create an alternative for emergency landing, the Indian Air Force on Thursday landed a fighter jet on the Yamuna Expressway.
This is the first time a fighter jet has landed on a civilian highway, and the move may prove crucial in case of war-like emergencies. A Mirage 2000 fighter jet landed on the highway at 6.40 am, with officials saying the capability of the highway to facilitate landing of heavier aircraft such as Sukhoi-30 MKIs and others can also be explored.
Initially, the aircraft made a practice approach on the runway by descending to a height of 100 metres, before landing in its next approach.
“The capability was demonstrated by IAF on 21 May, 2015, by a Mirage 2000 aircraft which got airborne from one of the IAF bases in central India,” a statement by the IAF said.
The plan was under-development for months, sources said. Most recently, an IAF delegation led by Air Officer Commanding in Chief of Central Air Command K S Gill had also met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to discuss the move.
Officials said the smooth landing of the jet was made possible by the makeshift Air Traffic Control, rescue vehicles, safety services, bird clearance parties which were readied in a short span of time. “There are plans to have more such active runways for landing… In war/conflict situations, air force stations are the first targets. Such active runways facilitate the landing of fighter jets in war-like situations… The type of aircraft that lands on the runway is determined by the bearing capability of the road surface. Now that we have demonstrated the capability to land a lighter jet, a heavier jet such as Sukhoi-30 MKI, too, can be made to land,” said an official.