I n a significant move, an Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 aircraft has landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Ladakh at 0625 hours on Friday. The airfield is said to be some 23 kilometers from the Line of Actual Control between India and Chinese-held territory.
According to an IAF statement, “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.”
While helicopters have been landing at this ALG, according to the IAF, this is for the first time that a fixed wing aircraft has landed at the compacted airstrip of Nyoma, located 23 kms from the LAC.
The statement added, “After deliberating on all aspects and carrying out aerial and ground reconnaissance, 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.”
The AN-32 has the ability to carry up to 50 passengers.
Referring to Nyoma, the IAf said, “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.”