The Lucknow-Agra Expressway on Tuesday turned in to a runway for Fighter planes when the Indian Air Force began its drill to touchdown 20 aircraft on the express way. This was the first time that any transport aircraft landed and then took off from an expressway.
The first transport aircraft, a C-130J Hercules, lands and takes off on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.
AN-32 transport, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi 30 MKI are among the aircraft that are part of the drill conducted near Bangarmau in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh.
The Indian Air Force wants new public roads to be designed to serve as runways for its warplanes, providing an alternative for launching operations if key airfields are bombed out by the enemy.
About 15 fighter jets, including three Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft, two formations of three aircraft each of Mirage 2000s and two formations of three aircraft each of Sukhoi-30 — touched down or made low overshoot over the highway.
In November 2016, a similar drill involving eight fighter planes was conducted a few days before the inauguration of the 302-km Expressway by then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The two-hour drill, was to train the IAF fighters and personnel to deal with emergency situations like an aerial attack or destruction of a base, which would require immediate touchdowns and take offs from other places to retaliate.