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TAKING OFF | IAF testing new Kashmir airstrip for critical landings

6 helicopters involved in trial run
12:00 AM Apr 02, 2024 IST | SHABIR IBN YUSUF
taking off   iaf testing new kashmir airstrip for critical landings
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Srinagar, Apr 1:  The 3.5-km emergency airstrip constructed near Bijbehara in Anantnag has been completed and its critical trial run is being carried Monday night.

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Security measures were significantly heightened around the area as experts were scheduled to put the facility to an important test.

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To ensure the safety of the aircraft, traffic was halted on a section of the vital Srinagar-Jammu National Highway passing near the location.

Vehicles were diverted from Wanpoh to Sangam to avoid the emergency landing strip area while the trial is being carried out.

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“The trial is taking place during the night,” a top Indian Air Force official said. “At least six helicopters are taking part in the trial run.”

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Initiated in 2020, the project aims to provide an alternative landing facility for fighter jets and other aircraft in scenarios like wartime situations or natural disasters requiring swift mobilisation of resources.

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Officials deployed additional security personnel to prevent any public gathering close to the airstrip during the scheduled trial landing and take-off of an aircraft.

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This measure is crucial to ensuring the safety of both the public and the aircraft involved in the test.

Once fully validated, this emergency strip would add crucial capability for the Kashmir region, providing a strategic asset for rapid response in times of need.

Locals and travellers were advised to plan alternate routes until operations conclude and the road reopens.

All necessary precautions were being taken to ensure public safety while verifying this potentially lifesaving asset.

The 3.5-km long landing strip would facilitate emergency landings and take-offs for Indian Air Force fighter planes and jets during wartime or emergencies like floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

After successful trials, the Indian Air Force (IAF) would issue clearance and landing and take-off certificates for this 3.5 km long strip.

The strip, located on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, includes parking slots for fighter aircraft, an air traffic control (ATC) tower, and two gates at both ends of the strip on the highway.

Additionally, other necessary facilities for the landing and take-off of fighter planes and jets have been established along the highway.

Officials disclosed that five emergency landing strips were proposed for fighter jets in J&K and Ladakh.

Two locations were finalised between Bijbehara-Chinar Bagh and Srinagar-Banihal, while three others are expected to be constructed along the Jammu-Pathankot, and Jammu-Poonch highways, and in Ladakh. These strips were planned during the border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

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