LUCKNOW: It was a proud moment for Uttar Pradesh as sixteen planes of the Indian Air Force performed touch and go landings on a stretch of the Lucknow-Agra Expressway today morning.
A 35,000 kg C-130J Super Hercules aircraft will come to a full stop on landing to deploy Garud Special Forces commandos to secure the landing zone as part of the special drill.
Fighter jets comprising of the top of the line Sukhoi 30s and Mirage 2000s won’t, on the other hand, come to a full stop, but will instead take off after touching down on the airstrip.
The three-hour long exercise simulates an emergency situation when airbases, the first target of bombs and missiles, won’t be available for air operations, necessitating use of highways as landing strips.
The aircraft touchdown exercise is taking place on the stretch near Bangarmau in Unnao district, about 65 km from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow.
This is the first time a transport aircraft – a Super Hercules, which can carry 200 commandos – is landing on an expressway. Inducted into the air force in 2010, each plane costs nearly Rs. 900 crore.