An Indian Air Force transport aircraft Hercules C-130J carrying two Union Ministers -- Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari -- landed at newly constructed 3.5 kilometres long emergency landing strip at National Highway, just 40 kilometres from the international border.
The emergency landing strip at Satta-Gandhav stretch on National Highway-925 in Jalore, Rajasthan, has been constructed for Rs 43 crore, including land acquisition for Rs 5 crore.
The ministers witnessed multiple aircraft operations on the emergency landing facility (ELF) of NH-925. Apart from Hercules, Su-30 MKI and AN 32 landed at the emergency landing strip. Also Jaguar fighter aircraft made touch and go demonstration at the landing strip.
Sukhoi-30 fighter jet also conducted a mock emergency landing at the ELF in front of the two ministers.
An-32 military transport aircraft and Mi-17v5 helicopter of the IAF also landed at the emergency strip, showing its complete operational readiness to act as an auxiliary military airbase.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed the 3-km section of Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925 as an ELF for the IAF.
The NHAI in coordination with Indian Air Force is going to develop 27 such landing strips across the country.
In October 2017, fighter jets and transport planes of the IAF had conducted mock landings on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway to show that such highways can be used by the IAF planes for landing in case of an emergency.
The Lucknow-Agra Expressway, which is not a national highway, comes under the Uttar Pradesh government.
The emergency landing strip -- which was inaugurated on Thursday -- is part of newly developed two-lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar and Satta-Gandhav section having total length of 196.97 km and costing Rs 765.52 crore under the Bharatmala project.
This highway project will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international border.
Apart from the emergency landing strip, three helipads (size 100 x 30 metres each) have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages under this project. These helipads are near International Boundary.