The Indian Air Force on Wednesday began its first rehearsals at the airstrip on national highway in Rajasthan near Barmer, a few kilometres from the international border with Pakistan.
Indian aircraft including C130, An-32 carried out successful takeoff and landing, while Su-30MKI attempted low flyby and touch-and-go manuevers. The landing strip, is situated at a distance of 40 km from India-Pakistan border.
The strip on the national highway in Barmer has been constructed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials in close consultation with the IAF personnel. This is arguably the first airstrip that has been developed on a national highway. It was developed to respond to emergencies along the western borders, the Highways Ministry said to facilitate the landing of military aircraft.
Meanwhile, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, in an address at a conference on the Indian aerospace sector, said that the IAF is looking at procuring around 350 aircraft in the next two decades. He stressed the need for developing asymmetric capabilities to bolster the IAF’s overall strength in view of challenges from China.
“Looking at the northern neighbour, we have to have niche technologies which must be built in-house by our own industry for reasons of security,” the IAF chief said.
Yesterday, Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari said the lack of framework for cooperation between military and civilian entities is preventing India from innovating and manufacturing next-generation space technology on a large scale, Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari said on Tuesday.
“In our context, the Indian space eco system — at present being largely civilian in nature — works around the Space Commission and its constituent Department of Space,” said the Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at an event of industry body FICCI.