In a first, IAF set to conduct landing runs on Srinagar-Jammu highway

Sukhoi jets and Tejas light combat aircraft are expected to take part in the trial

Bijbehara-air-strip Security personnel stand guard along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway after security was beefed up ahead of landing and take-off trials on the newly constructed emergency runway at Bijbehara, in Anantnag district | PTI

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will conduct a trial run of the 3.5 km-long emergency landing facility on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway at Bijbehara today. The authorities have made elaborate arrangements by deploying security forces and installing radars, CCTVs and other technical equipment to ensure a smooth trial.

Security forces have been deployed near the emergency landing facility, which stretches from 246.200 km to km 249.700 on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

In addition to robust security measures, radars and other technical equipment, including CCTVs, have been deployed around the site.

Work has also started on clearing the motorway in preparation for the trial run.

Services such as the health and fire services are currently on site.

The trial run is scheduled to take place during the night hours today and vehicles on the national highway will be diverted accordingly. The traffic department has issued an advisory announcing a ban on heavy motor vehicles (HMVs) on the highway from 4am on Monday to 7am on Tuesday. Light motor vehicles (LMVs) will be diverted to the old national highway route between Alistop and Doonipora, including Wanpoh, Khanabal, Batengoo, Padshahi Bagh and Bijbehara. Truck drivers are advised not to use the highway during this period.

Officials highlighted the multiple uses of the facility in scenarios such as war, floods, NDRF rescue operations, airdrop of relief materials, transportation of stranded people and other emergency needs.

Construction of the facility began in 2020 with an allocated budget of Rs 119 crore.

Sukhoi fighter jets and Tejas light combat aircraft are expected to take part in the trial. Sukhoi is a multi-role combat aircraft of the IAF, capable of conducting air and ground operations. The aircraft has been inducted into the IAF in large numbers, and was involved in operations during the aerial skirmish with Pakistan in February 2019. The aircraft is manufactured in India under Russian licence. Tejas is an indigenous light combat aircraft that will replace the IAF's ageing Mig-21 fighters.

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