Indian Air Force practises landing on motorways

Parts of the Agra–Lucknow Expressway were closed to motorists on October 24 while the Indian Air Force practised for war. The Road and Transport Ministry said at least 12 highways in India had been cleared for use as airstrips for disaster relief, delivering humanitarian assistance and as alternative landing grounds in wartime. In 2016, Minister of Road, Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari formed a committee to identify stretches of road that could double up as airstrips. In May 2015, Mirages and then, in November 2016, Mirages and Su-30s had used roads as makeshift airstrips, but October’s exercise was the first time that transport aircraft were involved. India’s new C-130J Super Hercules landed and unloaded commandos and an armoured vehicle, which were used to secure a perimeter before other aircraft, including three Jaguars, six Mirage 2000s and six Sukhois, performed touch-and-goes. Two An-32B transports announced as taking part did not appear.