New Delhi, March 13: The Indian Air Force (IAF) bolstered its operational capabilities with the re-launch of two upgraded Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) at Ziro and Along in Arunachal Pradesh, along the China border.
On the day of launch, an IAF Mi-17 landed at Ziro while an Advanced Light Helicopter made its presence felt at Along.
An IAF Spokesperson said three more ALGs (Mechuka, Pasighat and Tuting) will be made ready for operations in the next three months. The total plan outlay for the upgradation of ALGs is around Rs 1,000 crore.
IAF embarked upon the restricting the ALGs after the Cabinet Committee on Security gave its nod in June 2009. As per the plan, eight existing ALGs were identified for upgrades - all coming under Eastern Air Command's (EAC) radar.
The ALGs were: Tuting, Mechuka, Along, Tawang, Ziro, Pasighat, Walong and Vijaynagar in Arunachal Pradesh.
With Ziro and Along ALGs on an operational mode, a total of three ALGs have been upgraded.
The ALGS now boasts of paved runway surfaces, aprons for ground manouevring, Air Traffic Control tower, perimeter roads and security wall to name a few.
IAF says the runway surfaces and infrastructures are being built to the exacting standards for any other modern airfield in the country.
"Runway length and width, wherever feasible, has been extended and will enable ATR class of fixed wing operations in most of the ALGs," says the spokesperson.
Prior to the upgradation, the ALG at Along was partly paved, partly grassy, and duly reinforced with perforated steel plates. In addition to IAF, which operates all year round, Pawan Hans too operates helicopters from here during non-monsoon season.
Air Marshal C Hari Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, EAC says the capacity build-up will enable operations of C-130J Super Hercules as well.