India to upgrade Ladakh airstrip to handle fighter jets

Wednesday 15th February 2023 06:18 EST

As China has secured all of its air bases and military positions during the ongoing 33-month armed conflict along the boundary, India is now ready to begin upgrading the crucial Nyoma advance landing ground (ALG) in eastern Ladakh to ensure it can also handle fighter operations.
The 2.7-km "rigid pavement" runway would accommodate all types of fixed-wing aircraft for "defensive as well as offensive operations" as part of the £23 million upgrading work at Nyoma ALG, which will start in May or June, according to top defence personnel. With the Nyoma ALG located at an altitude of over 13,400-feet, and less than 50-km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, it will take “three working seasons” by the Border Roads Organisation to complete the entire upgrade project that also includes dispersal areas, hangars and other allied infrastructure in the forbidding terrain. “So, everything should be ready by mid-2025,” an official said.
Nyoma is already “a major staging area” for the IAF and Army, bridging the crucial gap between Leh airfield around 190-km away and the LAC. It has been extensively used for forward deployment of troops and heavy weapon systems like tanks since the multiple Chinese incursions into eastern Ladakh in April-May 2020.
Heavy-lift The Nyoma ALG is frequently used by Chinook, medium-lift Mi-17 V5 and Apache attack helicopters, as well as C-130J 'Super Hercules' aircraft that can land on temporary airstrips. The Army has also been rehearsing paratrooper airdrops in the high-altitude area.

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