The first Indian Air Force plane, an AN-32 aircraft, landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at 6:25 in the morning today, operationalising the airstrip near the India-China border.
Group Captain SC Chafekar touched down on the Nyoma airstrip located at an altitude of 13,300 feet with Air Marshal NAK Browne, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command and Lieutenant General PC Bharadwaj, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command on board, an official release said.
Though helicopters have been landing at this high altitude advanced landing ground (ALG), this is for the first time that a fixed wing aircraft has landed at the compacted airstrip of Nyoma, located 23 km from the LAC.
After deliberating on all aspects and carrying out aerial and ground reccees, it was concluded that Nyoma could be developed for fixed wing operations as well, the release said, adding the Herculean task of developing the ALG was undertaken by the Engineer Regiments of 14 Corps.
"The successful landing of a fixed wing aircraft at Nyoma marks the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army," the release added.
Nyoma has been developed with an aim of connecting the remote areas of Ladakh region with the mainland. This would also ensure that movements in the area continue when the road traffic gets affected during the harsh winters besides enabling improved communication network in the region, facilitating economical ferrying of supplies as well as promotion of tourism to the general area, the release noted.
The landing comes 15 months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldie (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.