An Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 transport aircraft landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Ladakh at the northern tip of India at 06:25 (00:55Z) today.
View Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground, Ladakh in a larger map
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.
Though helicopters have been landing at this Nyoma for quite some time, this is for the first time that a fixed wing aircraft has landed at the compacted airstrip of Nyoma, located 23 kms from the Line of Actual Control India shares with China.
Nyoma has been developed with an aim to connect the remote Himalayan areas of Ladakh region to the Indian mainland. This would also ensure that movements in the area continue when the road traffic gets affected during the harsh winters.
The successful landing of a fixed wing aircraft at Nyoma marks the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army, in extremely difficult working conditions and hostile weather, to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army.
The herculean task of developing the ALG to the standards required for fixed wing operations was undertaken by the Engineer Regiment of 14 Corps.
There have been several incursions in to Indian airspace and territory by Chinese forces recently and it is expected Nyoma will bolster Indian defences in the area.
The landing comes just fifteen months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldi (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.