Indian Air Force successfully lands C-17 Globemaster, the largest military transport aircraft, at Menchukha, AP

C-17 Globemaster.

Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh, November 3: On Thursday, the Indian Air Force has successfully carried out the trial landing of C-17 Globemaster, the largest military transport aircraft, at the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Menchukha in Arunachal Pradesh. The trial landing was made just 29 kilometres away from the Sino-Indian border.

In the major step to the country’s rapid airlift capability in Arunachal Pradesh, the operation demonstrated the IAF capability to reach out to this remote ALG (Advanced Landing Ground) located just 29 km from the Sino-Indian border,” the official press release stated.  reported The Indian Express.

The plane landed, At an elevation of 6,200 ft with a landing surface only 4,200 ft long, validating its short field landing performance at high altitude. Situated along the International Border, Mechuka in the Yargyap river valley of West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, was one of the strategic locations during the India-China war during 1962.

Until 2013, the Mechuka base was left deserted and unused after the 1962 war. It was reconstructed by the IAF Works department in a record time of 30 months. Tezpur-based Defence PRO Lt Col Shombit Ghosh is quoted as saying that with Mechuka upgraded, the number of upgraded ALGs in the state has increased to a total of four, reported The Indian Express.

The ALG at Mechuka in the Yargyap river valley of West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh had been upgraded recently.

The road connectivity to the nearest air/rail head at Dibrugarh, about 500 km away is generally two days of travel.

This is a quantum jump from the existing capability of An-32 and C-130J aircraft. Such airlift capability facilitates speedy transfer of men and material in this rugged terrain, interspersed with valleys and high mountain ranges that inhibit road connectivity.

“IAF has plans to validate airlift operations to and from various ALGs in the region that would usher in a new dimension in enhanced disaster response. This trial landing is expected to pave the way for operation of civil flights operating to and from the newly upgraded ALGs, which has an enormous potential to boost tourism by improving connectivity to remote locations in the North East,” the release stated.

The IAF has carried out such daring maneuvers before. Back in 2013, India landed the C-130J Super Hercules at the world’s highest and recently-activated Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip in Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in what was seen as a strong message to China.

The landing of C-17 Globemaster in Arunachal Pradesh shows the IAF’s growing commitment to secure its international borders along the India-China border as well as the far-flung North-East region. The C-13J, the largest aircraft with the Indian Air Force, has a capacity to carry 102 para-troopers and cargo such as tank and Armored Security Vehicles, among others. The plane has a payload capacity of 77, 520 kg.

The aircraft was received by the Detachment Commander Flight Lieutenant S. Dixit on its maiden landing in Mechuka.
The aircrew who were part of this historic landing were Group Captain T.R. Ravi, Wing Commander P. Sisodia, Wing Commander A.K. Patnaik, M.W.O. Tripathi and W.O. Nirana Ram. Mechuka was one of the several strategic locations during the Indo-China war in 1962. ANI