In Drill, IAF Plane With Two Ministers To Land On Highway
(This News Article Is Originally Posted on The Times Of India by Dipak K Dash)
In a first, two Union ministers — Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari — will board an Indian Air Force plane this week, which will use the national highway in Barmer in Rajasthan to make a mock emergency landing. The ministers will formally inaugurate the 3.5-km-long airstrip, which is the first one on any National Highway (NH) in the country.
Sources said two such airstrips on national highways have been completed in Andhra Pradesh and two more are under development, one each in West Bengal and J&K. Tenders have been floated for four other such trips on national highways.
Originally, 28 national highway stretches were identified for developing them as airstrips for emergency landing by fighter aircrafts.
Sources said experts are visiting different spots to assess ground situations. These were identified near the international border in the states including J&K, Punjab, Gujarat and West Bengal.
In 2016, the road transport and highways ministry had announced the setting up of an inter-ministerial joint committee with the defence ministry and the IAF to look into the feasibility of setting up these strips. Currently, one such strip is operational on the Lucknow-Agra expressway in Uttar Pradesh.
Several countries, including Germany, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, Finland, Switzerland and Singapore have dedicated stretches on their highways and expressways for aircraft to land and take off in emergencies.