IAF's Sukhoi lands during the emergency landing and take-off drills on Agra-Lucknow Expressway as part of ‘Gagan Shakti 2024’ exercise, in Unnao district on Saturday (6-Apr-2024)

The Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) stretch of highway has been closed from April 1 to 10 for this purpose, officials said

The Indian Air Force will conduct the Gagan Shakti drill with fighter jets on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway on April 7.

Showcasing India’s air defence readiness and capability, the Indian Air Force on Saturday conducted a special landing exercise of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway in Uttar Pradesh.

The special landing drill was conducted as a part of IAF’s Mission Gagan Shakti exercise.

The drill comes weeks after the Centre approved a major upgrade of the Su-30MKI fighter jet fleet often fielded by the Indian Air Force in bilateral and multilateral air exercises.

The aforementioned plan is a ₹60,000 crore project that aims to bolster the aircraft’s capabilities through the integration of new radars, mission control systems, electronic warfare capabilities, and weapon systems.

The upgrade will be carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

According to HAL Chairman and Managing Director CB Ananthakrishnan, the project is divided into two phases, focusing initially on installing new avionics and radars, followed by enhancements to the flight control systems.

Earlier in January, the IAF said it was considering extending the operational life of its Su-30MKI fighter jets, which have been in service for over two decades.

“We are now exploring the possibility of extending the aircraft’s lifespan by an additional 20 years or more through extensive trials and testing. Russian aircraft are robust in terms of airframe and other components, allowing their operational life to be extended,” defence officials told India Today TV.

Saturday’s rehearsal included Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet, an-32 transport aircraft, Mirage-2000 fighter aircrafts, TEJAS, Chinook, Apache and "Prachand" helicopters. The Gagan Shakti showcase takes place about every five years.

(With Agency Inputs)