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Indian MoD inaugurates emergency landing facility for IAF aircraft

India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 9 September the inauguration of a new emergency landing facility (ELF) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the northwestern state of Rajasthan near the country's border with Pakistan.

The MoD said in a statement that the 3-km long landing strip on the Satta-Gandhav stretch of National Highway (NH) 925A between Barmer and Jalore was completed after 19 months of work by private construction company GHV under the supervision of the IAF and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The MoD noted that this is the first time a national highway is being used to facilitate emergency landing for all aircraft types operated by the IAF. The first platform to land there was an IAF C-130 Hercules transport aircraft that was carrying Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to attend the inauguration event.

According to footage released by local news outlet Asian News International, a Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft and a Jaguar combat aircraft also landed on the new ELF in Jalore, indicating that the area could be used as a remote base for a variety of military aircraft.

Singh said the new landing strip “will further cement the basic infrastructure along the western border and strengthen national security”, adding that such emergency fields will also provide more “edge to the operational and civil assistance of our forces” and play “a crucial role in facing natural calamities”.

The MoD said that as part of this project three helipads have also been built along the highway, near the border with Pakistan, based on Indian military requirements to further improve surveillance of the area.

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