The Indian Air Force (IAF) is celebrating the monumental landing of a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transporter aircraft at an airstrip located at an altitude of 8,800 feet.
The Kargil airstrip, positioned in the north of India and on Himalayan terrain, poses a tricky challenge for top pilots to land in at the best of times, let alone at night.
The IAF celebrated landing the Super Hercules for the first time at the airstrip during the night in a post on social media.
“In a first, an IAF C-130 J aircraft recently carried out a night landing at the Kargil airstrip. Employing terrain masking enroute, the exercise also dovetailed a training mission of the Garuds,” the IAF wrote on January, 7, 2024.
The operation is not only significant due to the difficulty in completing the landing but also because the area has previously been the focus of military conflict with Pakistan.
The Super Hercules’ first landing at Kargil airstrip means that the IAF can now transport troops to the region if needed 24 hours a day.
In a first, an IAF C-130 J aircraft recently carried out a night landing at the Kargil airstrip. Employing terrain masking enroute, the exercise also dovetailed a training mission of the Garuds.#SakshamSashaktAtmanirbhar pic.twitter.com/MNwLzaQDz7— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) January 7, 2024
The C-130J is known for operating at night and flying in poor weather conditions. The aircraft can also refuel midflight so is capable of traveling huge distances.
The aircraft is used by countries all over the globe including the British Royal Air Force (RAF).