More than a dozen aircraft of the Indian Air Force touched down and took off as part of a special drill on a 4km stretch of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway on Tuesday.
The exercise saw a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft make a short landing on the highway, around 65 km from Lucknow. Garud Commandos disembarked from the aircraft, on foot as well as on a Gypsy, onto the highway-cum-runway.
It took off again, after which around 15 fighter jets touched down or made low overshoot over the highway. This is the first time a transport aircraft participated in such an exercise in India.
The jets included 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.
An Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighter jet lands on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway during an IAF drill.
C-130J Super Hercules:
The aircraft, powered by four Rolls Royce engines, can be used for a variety of missions such as special operations, combat delivery, peacekeeping, low intensity conflict, search and rescue, disaster relief and humanitarian missions.
Personnel display skills next to an Indian Air Force Hercules C-130J aircraft that landed on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.
Built by US aerospace major Lockheed Martin, it can carry out precision low-level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions. It is operated by 15 countries including the air forces of the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Italy.
The aircraft was inducted into the IAF in the mid-80s and has proven its sound flight safety record. A Mirage 2000 can fly from Gwalior to Delhi in less than 15 minutes.
An Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighter jet lands on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.
The IAF has contracted 272 Su-30 MKI fighter planes out of which nearly 240 have been delivered. The remaining 32 fighters are likely to be inducted over the next three years.
The first 50 jets came in ready from Russia, the remaining were and are being built under licence by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Seven Su-30 jets have crashed since 2009, while one is still listed as missing. The IAF inducted its first Su-30 fighter at the Lohegaon air base in Pune in June 1997.
The Jaguars are deep strike fighter planes, capable of carrying nuclear payload.
Indian Air Force Jaguar aircraft fly over the Lucknow-Agra Expressway during an IAF drill.
News credits to Hindustan Times and photo credits to PTI.