Somewhere on the Agra Expressway....


Some of the most formidable fighters from the Indian Air Force fleet showed their manoeuvres before landing on the specially developed 3.3-km stretch of the Lucknow-Agra Expressway near Bangarmau of Unnao district.

People from villages along the expressway, apart from special guests, watched Sukhoi-30s, Mirage 2000s, Jaguars and the show-stopper C130J Super Herculeus carry out landing on the country's longest expressway. The 302-km-long ex pressway was closed from both ends since Monday for the exercise. Fifteen aircraft took part in the exercise.

The show started with the arrival of C130J Super Hercules, which dropped Garud commandos and their vehicle on the airstrip. The C130J is a US-origin military transport, aerial refuelling and loader aircraft, equipped with emergency backup resources. The aircraft needs a small stretch of runway to land or takeoff.

Once the Hercules took off for the Hindon air base in Ghaziabad, three Mirage 2000s, under the Tiger Squadron, flew past and re turned for a touch-and-go, before the final touchdown. Then a set of three more Mirage 2000 aircraft, known as the Crossbow Squadron, made a similar manoeuvre. The aircraft had taken off from the Gwalior air base.

Soon, two Sukhoi 30s, followed by another three, carried out a flypast and returned for a touchdown before flying back to Bareilly .

The final part of the show was three Jaguar aircraft.The `vic' formation called Arrow, took off from the Gorakhpur air base.

The show ended with the Hercules returning to pick Garud commandos.

This was the second time, since its inauguration in November last year, that the eway played host to fighter aircrafts. Air Marshal AS Butola said more such exercise would be carried out in the future.

Protests broke out by Samajwadi Party members, who alleged that the BJP-led Centre was trying to claim credit for the work done by Akhilesh Yadav. After the inauguration of the e-way last November, BSP chief Mayawati had accused the SP of trying to steal credit for what she claimed was her project.

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