IAF conducts emergency landing test on NH 16

Constructed by the NHAI according to specifications provided by the IAF, the 4.1 km-long and 33 m-wide concrete airstrip has been recently operationalized, making it the latest ELF in peninsular India.

| Updated: 19 March, 2024 1:48 pm IST
Su-30 aircraft at the Emergency Landing Runway at NH-16

NEW DELHI: On March 18, 2024, the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted operations on an Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) airstrip situated on National Highway 16 near Addanki in the Bapatla district. The activation witnessed Su-30 and Hawk fighters successfully executing overshoots, while An-32 and Dornier transport aircraft landed and took off from the strip. This event highlighted the seamless coordination between civil agencies such as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), district administration, state police, and the IAF, showcasing their ability to manage complex activities efficiently.

Constructed by the NHAI according to specifications provided by the IAF, the 4.1 km-long and 33 m-wide concrete airstrip has been recently operationalized, making it the latest ELF in peninsular India. While similar airstrips exist in various parts of the country, this new facility in Andhra Pradesh significantly enhances the flexibility of air operations during contingencies, particularly during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in remote areas.

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The successful activation of the ELF underscores its importance as a valuable asset for the IAF and other emergency response agencies. These highway airstrips serve as crucial alternatives for aircraft landing during wartime or emergencies, ensuring swift response and aid delivery in critical situations. In collaboration with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the IAF is actively working to identify and develop suitable locations for additional ELFs across the country.

During the trial, two transport aircraft, the AN-32 and Dornier, were utilized to test the facility’s capability and readiness. The exercise aimed to bolster the IAF’s emergency preparedness and enhance its ability to handle future exigencies effectively. The successful completion of the trial, which included practising flying manoeuvres such as circuits, approaches, and overshoots, demonstrates the IAF’s commitment to maintaining operational readiness at all times.

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The trial landing exercise was conducted with precision and efficiency, with the Bapatla district police diverting traffic to facilitate the operation. Additionally, several fighter jets, including the Sukhoi Su-30, participated in the exercise by conducting flyovers above the facility without landing. This comprehensive evaluation ensures that the ELF on NH-16 remains a reliable option for aircraft operations, further strengthening India’s defence and emergency response capabilities.

The activation of the Emergency Landing Facility on National Highway 16 marks a significant milestone in India’s efforts to enhance its aviation infrastructure and emergency response capabilities. With continued collaboration between the IAF, NHAI, and other stakeholders, these ELF projects will play a crucial role in safeguarding the nation’s security and ensuring swift responses to emergencies across the country.

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