In a first, a Mirage-2000 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully landed on the Yamuna Expressway near Mathura today as part of trials to use national highways for emergency landing.
According to the IAF, the Mirage-2000 took off from one of the IAF bases in central India. It landed on the Yamuna Expressway at about 6:40am. The IAF were in talks to convert the 3km stretch into a road runway.
The entire trial was done in coordination with the superintendents and district magistrates of Mathura and Agra and necessary tie up was carried out for activation of the selected stretch.
Recently, the IAF had presented the proposal to UP government after determining details of the Lucknow-Agra expressway. The IAF will also bear the cost of the project.
For a segment to be used as a road runway, it need to be level, straight and located on a non-undulating ground without any slope. Moreover, the road runway segment should not have mobile phone towers, masts and electricity poles. There will be portable ground lighting systems that can be quickly placed on the roadside to guide aircraft during landings.
Singapore, China, Germany, Pakistan and Sweden are among the countries that have road runways, but this was a first for India. These runways are important if airbases are crippled during hostile situations.