India

India air force lands fighter jet on Yamuna expressway

A Mirage 2000 fighter jet of the Indian air force landed on an expressway connecting the capital, Delhi with Agra on early on Thursday. Image copyright IAF
Image caption The jet fighter landed on an expressway near Delhi

India has successfully landed a jet fighter on an expressway for the first time as a part of trials to use roads for emergency landings.

A Mirage 2000 fighter jet of the Indian air force landed on the main road connecting the capital, Delhi, with Agra early on Thursday.

The 102-mile-long Yamuna Expressway is one of India's most modern highways.

The air force plans to develop various sections of India's highways to be used as runways at short notice.

Image copyright IAF
Image caption The air force plans to develop various sections of India's highways to be used as runways at short notice
Image copyright IAF
Image caption Senior air force officials were present to witness the landing and takeoff
Image copyright IAF
Image caption Local people, including residents from nearby villagers, gaped at the sight, reports said

The air force said in a statement that the aircraft flew in from a base in central India and made a "practice approach on the highway, coming down to a height of 100m before landing off the next approach" in Uttar Pradesh state.

A large number of police were deployed along the stretch of the highway where the exercise was conducted. Senior air force officials were also present to witness the landing and take-off.

A makeshift air traffic control was set up, bird-watchers were on alert and fire engines and rescue vehicles were on stand-by, news channel NDTV reported..

The exercise halted traffic on the road for a few hours. Local people, including residents from nearby villagers, gaped at the sight, reports said.

Road runways are usually used for emergency landings if airbases come under attack during wartime.

A number of countries, including neighbouring Pakistan, have dedicated stretches of expressways for landing fighter planes.

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