The Indian Air Force will be inducting on Thursday the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM)/Barak-8 weapons system in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer. Defence minister Rajnath Singh will be attending the induction ceremony; he left for Barmer earlier this day on a day-long visit to the western state. Singh will also inaugurate the Emergency Landing Facility on the Satta-Gandhav stretch of National Highway (NH) 925A along with Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari.
Earlier this day, the Union defence minister tweeted: “Leaving New Delhi for Barmer on a day-long visit to Rajasthan. Shall inaugurate the Emergency Landing Facility on NH-925A near Barmer, along with the Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shri @nitin_gadkari. I shall also be attending the MRSAM induction ceremony in Jaisalmer.”
The MRSAM missile system, jointly developed by India and Israel, is expected to provide a significant boost to the country’s air defence and combat capabilities. The two countries had successfully carried out tests earlier this year at a facility in India, which showed off the advanced medium-range missile equipped with advanced phased-array radar and interceptors with advanced RF seekers.
The Emergency Landing Facility (ELF), on the other hand, is part of a national highway that, for the first time ever, will be used for emergency landings of the Indian Air Force aircrafts. Video clips shared by the ANI news agency showed that a Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft and a Jaguar jet landed at the national highway in Rajasthan’s Jalore, showcasing the stretch of road that will be used for more such emergency landings of the armed forces.
According to the Union ministry of road transport and highways, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had developed a three-kilometre section of the Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A from Km. 41/430 to Km. 44/430 as an Emergency Landing Facility for the Indian Air Force. It is a part of the newly developed two-lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar and Satta-Gandhav Section having a total length of 196.97 kilometres and costing ₹765.52 crores under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the emergency landing strip, Rajnath Singh hailed the “great feat” and said that the NHAI is preparing emergency landing fields at 20 locations and also constructing helipads at many other regions. “This emergency landing field and the three helipads will not only be useful in the time of war but to carry out rescue and relief operations during any natural disaster,” he said.
An official statement from the road transport ministry said, “This project will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international borders. The stretch is located in the western border area will facilitate the vigilance of the Indian Army as well as strengthen the basic infrastructure of the country.”