India opens IAF airstrip on China border, lands aircraft
New Delhi: After successfully reopening the Daulat Beg Oldi and Fuk Che airfields in Ladakh last year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has now operationlised the Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
Marking the completion of the construction of the airstrip, an AN-32 aircraft, for the first time ever, landed at Nyoma at 0625 hrs Friday morning.
Group Captain SC Chafekar touched down on the Nyoma airstrip located at an altitude of 13,300 feet with Air Marshal NAK Browne, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command and Lieutenant General PC Bharadwaj, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command on board.
"Helicopters have been landing here, but this is for the first time that a fixed wing aircraft has landed," an IAF spokesperson said.
After deliberating on all aspects and carrying out aerial and ground reccees, it was concluded that Nyoma could be developed for fixed wing operations as well.
The herculean task of developing the ALG to the standards required for fixed wing operations was undertaken by the Engineer Regiments of 14 Corps. The successful landing of a fixed wing aircraft at Nyoma marks the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army.
Joint development of Nyoma braving the extremely difficult working conditions and hostile weather is yet another step towards enhanced jointmanship between the two services.
Nyoma has been developed with an aim to connect the remote areas of Ladakh region to the mainland. This would also ensure that movements in the area continue when the road traffic gets affected, during the harsh winters besides enabling improved communication network in the region, facilitating economical ferrying of supplies as well as promotion of tourism to the general area.
The landing comes just fifteen months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldie (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.
Friday`s landing marks the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army to enable the air force to operate larger flying machines in the inhospitable terrain in support of the Army, the IAF official added. The IAF has been upgrading and refurbishing Advanced Landing Grounds along the border with China.
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