Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurated an Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) on 9th Sept. The ELF is situated at the Satta-Gandhav stretch on NH-925A near Barmer, Rajasthan.
During the inauguration, Defence Minister Rajnath said, “Today our country is celebrating the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ of its independence. Celebrating the ‘Golden Year’ of 1971 Victory. Also, this place, Uttarlai, where we have all been present, has itself been a witness to the 1971 victory.”
IAF’s Hercules C-130J along with other aircraft conducted mock drills
IAF’s Hercules C-130J plane conducted a mock emergency landing on the Emergency Landing Facility on NH-925A. The plane carried DM Rajnath Singh, Union minister Nitin Gadkari, Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, and others during the mock drill. This is for the first time that a National Highway has been used for emergency landing of aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
The ELF will cater to all types of IAF aircraft. An-32 military transport aircraft, Sukhoi-30MKI, and Mi-17v5 helicopter also conducted mock drills on the emergency landing strip displaying the complete operational readiness for emergency operations.
NHAI had developed a 3.0 Km section of the Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A from Km. 41/430 to Km. 44/430 as an Emergency Landing Facility (ELF). It is part of the newly-developed two-lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar & Satta-Gandhav Section having a total length of 196.97 kilometers and costing Rs 765.52 crore under Bharatmala Pariyojana. The work commenced in July 2019 and was completed in January 2021. Along with ELF, Three helipads of dimensions 100 x 30 meters each are also constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania & Bakhasar villages.
“By constructing this field, just a few steps before the international border, you have proved how prepared we are for the security of India. I was told that this 3-km stretch, even in the midst of an epidemic like Covid, was completed in just 19 months,” told Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
19 other Emergency Landing Facilities will be developed
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has said that Emergency Landing Facilities will be developed at 19 other places to strengthen the country’s security. The 19 Emergency Landing Facilities will be constructed in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, and Assam.