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IAF gets two upgraded advanced landing grounds in Arunachal

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NEW DELHI (PTI): In a major fillip to Indian Air Force's operational capability along border with China, two upgraded advanced landing grounds at Ziro and Along in Arunachal Pradesh have been inaugurated last week.

"The ALGs will further enhance our existing operational capabilities in Eastern Air Command," Air Marshal C Hari Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command said.

He added that the new capacity build-up will enable operations by some of the force's new inductions including the C-130J Super Hercules.

"Besides enhancing air maintenance capability of the IAF in the region, the new airfield will also facilitate civil air connectivity soon," the Air Marshal said.

Vayudoot Airlines once operated from Ziro airfield in the mid-eighties. Subsequently, the IAF has always operated a flying detachment from the ALG at Ziro for air maintenance purposes.

The runway surface at Ziro saw a steady deterioration over a period of time due to lack of maintenance and other issues.

Encroachment due to absence of a security wall further added to the declining status of the airfield.

There was, however, always a need to connect the beautiful valley of Ziro with rest of the country by air, for tourism as well as other purposes.

The IAF took over the Ziro airfield from AAI in August 2010.

Consequent to the CCS approval in June 2009, the IAF embarked on an ambitious reconstruction plan to upgrade the existing eight ALGs, including infrastructure development at certain airbases in EAC's area of responsibility.

The ALGs for upgradation include Tuting, Mechuka, Along, Tawang, Ziro, Pasighat, Walong and Vijaynagar in Arunachal Pradesh.

The outlay plan for the upgradation of ALGs alone is nearly Rs 1,000 crore.

Besides IAF, which operates all year round, Pawan Hans also operates helicopters from the airbase during non-monsoon periods.

With the inauguration of the ALGs at Ziro and Along, altogether three ALGs have since got upgraded with paved runway surfaces and other facilities such as aprons for ground manoeuvring, Air Traffic Control tower with associated infrastructure including perimeter road and a security wall.

Three more ALGs -- Mechuka, Pasighat, Tuting are scheduled to be inaugurated in the next three months. The ALG project at Tawang, which was taken up only in 2014, is ongoing and is expected to be ready by September this year.


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