The proposal for an airport at Tawang, in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, close to the Indo-Tibetan border is being seen as impractical by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Sources said the lay of the land around Tawang, which already has a helipad and regular helicopter services, would present practical problems in setting up an airfield on which fixed wing aircraft could land.
While the proposal to construct an airfield at the state capital Itanagar was cleared by the Union government under a plan to provide all state capitals with airports, this expenditure is also being seen as unnecessary, considering the proposed airfield would be around 50 kilometers from an existing airfield.
The IAF is also moving to modernize 30 airfields under the first phase of the Modernization of AirField Infrastructure (MAFI) program, with the pilot project at Bhatinda in the final stages of implementation. This will include installation and improvements in lighting, Instrument Landing System (ILS), BVOR (Weather Broadcast VOR), TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation) and other navigational aids.
Italian firm, Selex had earlier challenged the award of the contract for airfield modernization to Tata Power in the Delhi High Court. IAF sources say this issue has been resolved with the Supreme Court having dismissed the petition.