- Fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will fly at a height of 100 metres from the ground before landing at a designated strip along National Highway-16 in Bapatla district of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday as part of an emergency landing trial run.
- It is expected that at least two fighter jets and three other aircraft will land on the highway at Pichukalagudipadu village in Korisapadu mandal of the district as part of the trial run.
- Elaborate security arrangements are being made by the Bapatla district administration for the exercise, which will be the first of its kind in Andhra Pradesh.
- IAF Group Captain R.S. Chowdary, who inspected the emergency landing runway (ELR) on NH-16, said that the trial run would be conducted at 11 a.m. on Thursday. The IAF has set up emergency base camps on the ends of the landing strip, he said.
- The ELR is a 4.1-km stretch built on the highway to enable fighter aircraft to land safely in times of an emergency. A similar facility is proposed to be developed between Singarayakonda and Kalikivayi in Prakasam district on the highway.
- “The facility will be of much use in times of war and other national emergencies,” Vakul Jindal, Bapatla Superintendent of Police, told The Hindu.
- The entire 4.1-km stretch has been developed like a runway. The strip can be readied within half an hour for emergency plane landings,” he said. Except in cases of an emergency, the strip will continue to serve as a national highway, he added.
- Jindal said that two fighter jets and three planes would land within a span of 45 minutes on the runway. Tight security has been arranged with around 200 police officers and personnel manning the stretch.
- “Highway traffic will be diverted between 10.30 a.m. and noon. Light vehicles coming from Guntur will be diverted from Renangi Varam towards Addanki, and vehicles coming from Ongole will be diverted from Medarametla towards Addanki. Heavy vehicles will be halted on both sides of the highway until the trial run is over,” Mr. Jindal said. IAF officials refused to divulge details about the specific types of aircraft that will participate in the trial run.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB