Indian Air Force aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, and Sukhoi Su-30, completed an ’emergency field landing’ on a national highway in Rajasthan’s Barmer on Thursday, according to a video shared by news agency ANI. The landing was part of a drill by carried by the armed forces.

The aircraft carried Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Roadways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.

Defence Minister congratulated the forces and said you normally see cars and trucks on highways and now you see planes. This landing field will instil confidence in the forces and shows the world that India is always ready to protect its sovereignty and its integrity.

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According to the report, the ‘field landing’ tests quality of road infrastructure to be used a emergency airstrips in the event of rescue or times when airbases.

There are total of 12 highways in different states, including the Agra-Lucknow expressway, that have been identified as potential emergency landing airstrips.

NH-925A in Barmer is the first national highway to be included as emergency landing field, or ELF.

The government has said the ELF will normally be used for smooth flow of vehicular traffic. But, during operations for Indian Air Force, the service road will be used for road traffic. It (the ELF) will be able to handle all types of IAF aircraft, the government added.

In addition, three helipads have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages; all three have been built in consultation with the Air Force and Army and will help strengthen armed forces’ security network and operational readiness on the country’s western border.

In 2017 several IAF planes, including a C-130J Super Hercules, and Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters, performed touch-and-go landings on a stretch of the Agra-Lucknow expressway.

IAF fighter planes – Mirage-2000 and Sukhoi – have twice landed on expressways in Uttar Pradesh.

The first was in 2015 when a Mirage-2000 landed on the Yamuna expressway near Delhi.