The use of highways in far-flung areas for aircraft landings and take-offs will soon be a reality. The Union Ministry of Roads and Highways has received clearance from the Defence Ministry for the use of 17 such highways across the country for aircraft landings and take-offs of defence planes after the fulfillment of certain technical conditions. These highway airstrips can also be used for disaster management, relief operations, casualty evacuation and deployment of security forces.
The highways listed include Bijbehera-Chinar Bagh, Banihal-Srinagar, Kharagpur-Balasore, Kharagpur-Keonjhar, Lucknow-Agra Expressway, Phalodi-Jaisalmer, Barmer-Jaisalmer, Dwarka-Maliya, Nellore-Ongole, Ongole-Chikaluripet, Chennai-Pondicherry, Kodiakkarai-Ramanathpuram and Lucknow Balia Expressway. These highways, which are under various stages of development, except for the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, entail an investment of over Rs 10,000 crore.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully landed a Mirage-2000 on the Yamuna Expressway near Mathura on Thursday as part of its trials to use national highways for emergency landing by fighter aircraft.
Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister of Roads and Highways, said, “The ministry had mooted the idea in January 2016. The defence ministry has given the go-ahead for 17 highways to be used as airstrips. The ministry has given a slew of suggestions with regard to the width and surface of these airstrips. These suggestions have been incorporated on most highways.”
Further, Gadkari said the ministry proposes to use roads and highways from 22 identified stretches for the take-off and landing of commercial flights. The ministry has initiated talks with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for the use of highways from 22 stretches across the country for commercial flights.
In a few states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Rajasthan and some border districts, highways can be used as airstrips taking into account constraints in the construction of a greenfield airport. Vehicular movement will be suspended when an airplane lands or takes off.
Test run ::
The Indian Air Force successfully landed a Mirage-2000 on the Yamuna Expressway near Mathura on as part of its trials to use national highways for emergency landing by fighter aircraft.