For the first time since the 1962 Chinese aggression, an Indian Air Force fighter jet landed at an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh. The fighter jet, IAF Sukhoi-30, marked the inauguration of the renovated ALG in Pasighat – the state’s oldest town. Sukhoi-30 touched-down at 10:45 am on Friday,19 August. The inauguration was attended by Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, along with Air Marshal C Hari Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command.
The Airfield is barely 100 km from China Border. The Airfield is Operational from August 19.
The advanced landing ground comes as a big shot in the arm for the Air Force as heavy fighters like the Su-30MKI and heavy lift transport planes like the US-built C-130J Super Hercules aircraft can now use the airfield. It will be one of the operating bases under the Eastern Air Command capable of operating all types of aircraft and helicopters.Su-30 is the India’s most Lethal Aircraft.
MoS Rijiju called it a red letter day and dedicated the ALG to the nation.” The ALG would enhance air support capability for the Army, paramilitary forces and the civil administration and would facilitate air connectivity for the people of Arunachal Pradesh with the rest of the country,”he said.
“The Northeast region abundant with rich natural resources is lagging behind in terms of development due to various reasons and the NDA government at the Centre is committed for its development on par with other parts of the country”.
“This airfield is as good as new, with a completely state-of-the-art airstrip” said a senior IAF officer. ” Pasighat ALG is a strategic asset it is capable of operating all types of aircrafts and helicopters. It improves our response time. Besides it will also increase our air operations in the eastern frontier,” Group Captain Amit Mahajan said.
This is the fifth forward airfield that has been refurbished and opened up for air operations in recent times. Earlier this year, the forward airfields at Mechuk, also in West Siang district and Ziro, Along and Walong were made operational.
The forward airfields or the advanced landing grounds had been used during the 1962 India-China war to airlift troops and supplies but their use was subsequently stopped. Most of these airfields including the Pasighat air strip were partly paved with grassy patches. Some of the other advanced airfields were reinforced by perforated steel sheets. Pasighat airfield was taken over the Indian Air Force in 2010.