Nyoma ALG near LAC now upgraded to Air Field

Nyoma ALG near LAC now upgraded to Air Field

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Nyoma ALG near LAC now upgraded to Air Field

The first landing of a fixed-wing aircraft at the Nyoma ALG took place on September 18, 2009, when an AN-32 transport aircraft landed there. The Indian Air Force’s Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Nyoma, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, has now been black-topped, and upgraded to an airfield.

Meanwhile work is ongoing to extend the runway so that it can eventually handle all types of fighter jets and transport aircrafts and will become a full fledged airbase. The runway is now being extended to 10,000 feet to enable it to handle all fighter aircraft in the IAF’s inventory.

“The work is about 15% complete and is now stopped due to winter. It will restart in April. It is on track to be completed in two years,” the source stated.

There are apprehensions that the airfield could become an easy target for PLAAF as it is only 30 km away from the LAC. However the airbase will be well guarded with radar backed Surface to Air Missiles.The nearest Chinese airbase in occupied Tibet is about 125 Km away. So there will be enough reaction time to send even a Combat Air Patrol to intercept any foolish adventurous Chinese fighter strikes.

Shri Rajnath Singh, Raksha Mantri had laid the foundation stone for the ALG last September, which will soon be one of the world’s highest alongwith Leh and Thoise. It would prove to be a “game-changer” for the armed forces. The ALG’s cost of development is approximately ₹200 crore.

Nyoma is about 180 km away from Leh at an altitude of about 13,700 feet, and lies close to the southern bank of the Pangong Tso.

The IAF also has airfields at Leh, Thoise and Kargil, as well as ALGs at Daulet Beg-Oldie and Fukche. However, the Leh and Thoise airfields are located in interior areas. What is most important is that iunlike Leh and Thoise, the weather at Nyoma is much more stable in comparison to the other two airfields, enabling seamless operations.

At the height of the standoff with Chinese forces in 2020, the IAF Mi-17 medium-lift helicopters, CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, and AH-64E Apache attack helicopters had been landing at Nyoma to support the forward deployment of troops, as well as for surveillance and intelligence gathering purposes.

To overcome the challenges that fighter jets face in starting at high-altitude airfields, the engines are being tweaked to enable them to start at extremely low temperatures, which can plummet to 40 degrees in winter.

Over the last three years, China has upgraded all its airfields in Occupied Tibet and built new ones as part of its overall build-up along the 3,488 km-long LAC. Its infrastructure includes dual-use airfields, roads, accommodation for troops, and ammunition dumps, among others. India has also significantly scaled up its infrastructure and connectivity across the LAC, especially since the 2020 standoff, and hectic activity is now underway.