On Sunday, Dec 21, an IL-76 transport aircraft flew twice between 3 am to 7 am from Chandigarh for operational preparedness 'in case of any conflict'.
The aircraft is the largest the IAF has. Importantly, it made two sorties for JK despite heavy fog. Taking off first at 3.15 am and then at 6.15 am, the aircraft flew at a time when domestic planes at the Chandigarh airport were not allowed to take off because of low visibility, at just 300 meters. The airport and air force share a common airstrip and other systems.
Sources said the development came after a meeting of senior defence officials in Delhi on Saturday. Air force stations were put on 'cockpit ready alert' almost immediately after that.
With large transport aircraft like AN-32 and IL-76, the Chandigarh station is vital for the air force, forming a crucial cord between troops in rest of the country.
In fact, three transportation aircraft consisting of two AN-32s and one IL-76 were flown from here to Delhi after a call from air headquarters after the recent Mumbai attacks. The aircraft were used to airlift 200 NSG commandos from Delhi, along with RAF troops, to Mumbai.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)