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IAF converting Nyoma ALG into transport airbase

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NEW DELHI (PTI): With the first successful landing of an AN-32 aircraft at Nyoma airstrip in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Air Force is all set to convert the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) into a full-fledged airbase for fixed wing transport aircraft in the next couple of years.

The work on converting the Nyoma airstrip, just 23 km from Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, into an airbase, where the AN-32s can be based and operated, has already begun, according to IAF officials.

The ALG already operates helicopters from Nyoma, which is the third such ALG to come up in Ladakh region after Daulat Beg Oldi in northern Ladakh and Fuk Che in eastern Ladakh.

“Once the Nyoma airbase comes up, it will be the first operational transport airbase of the IAF in eastern Ladakh,” the officials said on Sunday.

The IAF already has an airbase in Leh, which can operate all types of aircraft – fighters, heavy lift and medium lift transport, apart from rotary wing.

One more airstrip at Chushul is in the offing, though work on laying the compacted runway there is yet to begin, they said.

“Chushul is a futuristic proposition. As of now, the IAF does not feel the need to have the airstrip there. But it is certain on the IAF's radars,” Air Force officials said.

Chushul, incidentally is closer to the Pongang Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. India controls only one-third of the lake, while the rest is under Chinese control.

Apart from the new ALGs in Ladakh along the Chinese border, the government is also reviving around 20 helipads along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.

These helipads are coming up with help from the Home Ministry, Civil Aviation Ministry and the state government, apart from the Defence Ministry, the officials added.

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