SHILLONG: Call it a preparation bid on the part of the Indian Airforce to tackle reported Chinese Army intrusion or simply a show of strength, the Eastern Air command is all set to upgrade and inaugurate all the Advance Landing Ground, (ALGs) under its command within the year 2017.
With reports of growing border skirmish between the Indian troops and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army along the Indo-China border, the Indian Airforce seems to be on its toes to ensure that when war comes, they’ll be ready.
This statement came only a day after the successful landing of the largest military transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster at Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh close to the India-China border.
“Within one year five ALG’s have been inaugurated and are fully functional and within 2017 the remaining ALG’s in the region will be inaugurated and made fully functional,” Group Captain EAC also PRO Defence, Amit Mahajan said on Friday.
The Indian airforce had successfully landed Sukhoi aircraft at Pasighat and F-16 fighter, AN-32, C-130 and the transport aircraft of the IAF c-17 globemaster at Mechuka.
Informing that the ALG’s are but short run away to land helicopters, Mahajan said that the landing of the C-17 globemaster on Thursday was just a trial landing to check if such strategic airplanes can be landed or not when the need arise.
“The runway length of ALG’s are small and we have to keep in mind whether strategic aircraft can land or not and this is the reason why we landed the c-17 on trial,” Mahajan said adding that C-17 Globemasetr was recently inducted and it can land and take off in short runway and is capabel of landing in high altitudes at 45000 feet with endurance capacity that can go upto 5-10,000 Kms depending on the weight it is carrying.
He however maintained that it is not possible to land the strategic aircrafts in all the ALG’s due to the short landing stretch of the ALG’s and hilly terrain.
Few of the ALG’s in the region includes Vijaynagar ALG, Pasighat ALG, Mechuka ALG, Arunachal Pradesh, Walong ALG, ,Tuting ALG, Ziro ALG, Along ALG,, and Tawang ALG, in Arunachal Pradesh.
When enquired if the Umroi airport is good enough to land strategic aircrafts in case of emergencies, the group captain observed that the airport needs some upgradation in terms of increasing the runway for which the state government has acquired land and given.
“Once the upgradation bit is done all type of aircrafts can land there,” he added.
It may be mentioned that after the 1962 Indo-Chinese War, The decision was made to raise a full-fledged command at Shillong. The area of responsibility of the command now covers 11 states, and is bound by the international boundaries of Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh incorporating 6300 km of common border. Eastern Air Command now has permanent airbases at Chabua, Guwahati, Bagdogra, Barrackpore, Hasimara, Jorhat, Kalaikunda and Tezpur with forward airbases at Agartala, Kolkata, Panagarh and Shillong.