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A PAKISTAN Air Force Mirage aircraft landing on one of the country’s motorways during road runway operations on Monday. In a bid to remain prepared for any emergency, the PAF fighter aircraft carried out off-runway operations along motorways and highways.—APP
A PAKISTAN Air Force Mirage aircraft landing on one of the country’s motorways during road runway operations on Monday. In a bid to remain prepared for any emergency, the PAF fighter aircraft carried out off-runway operations along motorways and highways.—APP

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to remain ready and prepared for any kind of emergency in the prevailing situation, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter aircraft carried out off-runway operations along motorways and highways on Monday.

The aircraft landed and took off from multiple locations. After landing, the fighter aircraft also took part in a refuelling and re-arming exercise.

The exercise was conducted to demonstrate PAF’s capability of being able to sustain high-tempo air operations.

Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed was present on the occasion as well as other senior civil and military officials.

A senior official of the PAF told Dawn that the purpose of the exercise was revalidation of the capability under the changed geo-strategic scenario.

He said that the display showed that in case the traditional airstrips were not available for some reason, the Pakistan Air Force could use non-traditional landing strips to replenish and rearm its fighter planes.

“The ever-changing geopolitical environment in the region demands conceptual and doctrinal changes in the application of air power,” he added.

The PAF recorded a significant strategic achieve­­ment when two of its fighter aircraft successfully landed at a section of the Islamabad-Lahore motorway, demonstrating its ability to use unconventional bases for combat operations.

After the aircraft had landed at the non-traditional strip, Mirage and F-7P aircraft were refuelled and rearmed before they took off again.

The activity was part of High Mark 2010, the ambitious war games of PAF.

The successful landing and take-off had been described as a “strategic, operational and tactical achievement”.

The demonstration of the successful usage of the motorways as airstrips took place after tensions between India and Pakistan spiked, following the Feb 14 Pulwama attack in which more than 40 paramilitary personnel of the Indian forces were killed and at least 70 injured.

Later that month, the Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian Air Force aircraft in response to unprovoked aggression by India.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2019