The Indian Air Force successfully landed the Mirage-2000 fighter jet on the Yamuna Expressway in Noida as part of a trial run for a road runway.

Mirage-2000 Landing  Yamuna Expressway
A 3 km stretch on the Yamuna Expressway was allocated for IAF to land the fighter jet

In a first-of-its-kind for military aviation in the country, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully landed the Mirage-2000 fighter jet on the Yamuna Expressway earlier today as part of a trial run for using the road as a runway during emergencies. In a statement, the IAF concluded that the aircraft made a practice approach on the highway coming down to a height of 100 metres before landing off the next approach. The jet then landed at about 6.40 AM. The IAF had allocated a 3 kms stretch on the expressway to conduct the exercise.

The need for a road runway was cited by the IAF in case the airports were crippled during hostile situations leading to the use of a road as a runway. A common practice internationally with countries like Germany, Sweden, China, Singapore and Pakistan having already adopted the same. It was for the first time in India and the IAF plans to have more such locations in the future with the next site said to be allocated on the upcoming Agra-Lucknow expressway that is 308 kms long and is expected to cost Rs. 13,000 crores in development.

In order to use the expressway as a runway though, the IAF has certain pre-requisites which include the road level to be exactly straight, levelled and not have any undulations. The road can’t have electric poles, masts or mobile towers on the sides or in close proximity. The surface too will get upgrades and will be thicker than the average road while the divider needs to be a removable one. In case of night landings, the road runway will have to be equipped with portable ground lighting that can be placed at the road sides quickly to guide the aircraft. The average width available on the Agra-Lucknow expressway is 50 metres which is more than sufficient for an airstrip.

Mirage-2000 Landing Trial Indian Air Force
The IAF plans to have more such road runways across the country