The new airport of the Indian army is less than 50 kilometers away from the actual control line, and both Rafale and Su-30 fighter jets will be stationed

The Indian military recently decided to upgrade the Nioma Airport under its control and build it into a brand-new military airport that can deploy advanced fighter jets such as Rafale and Su-30MKI. Nioma Airport is located on the west line of the Sino-Indian border, very close to the actual control line. Responsible for the construction of the runway is the well-known Indian Ministry of Defense Border Roads Organization.

The Indian Air Force is very eager to make a difference in border conflicts. During the Sino-Indian border war in 1962, the Indian Air Force dispatched a large number of transport planes to drop ammunition, food and other materials to the Indian front-line troops, but the combat planes did not play any role. There was no air battle with the PLA, nor did they drop bombs on the ground troops of the PLA. .

(Nyoma Airport is now a dirt runway)

Therefore, in the Indian public opinion after the war, such a strange concept was formed that if the then Indian Prime Minister Nehru decided to dispatch the air force, then the war might be won by India. This is of course not in line with the facts. The Indian Air Force at that time was far inferior to the PLA in terms of equipment level and combat effectiveness. Moreover, the People’s Liberation Army faced the US Air Force head-on in the Korean War and scored a beautiful record. It was these that forced Nehru to refrain from dispatching the air force. However, this war may have passed for a long time, and many Indians, including the Indian Air Force themselves, have forgotten these things.

Facts have proved that although the Indian Air Force has imported many advanced combat aircraft and other weapons and equipment over the years, its combat level is still very poor, and it may not exceed 1962. In the 2019 India-Pakistan air fire incident, the MiG-21 of the Indian Air Force was shot down before the missile could even shoot out, and the helicopter of the Indian Air Force that took off to rescue the pilot was shot down by its own firepower. Officers died. All this shows that the Indian Air Force does not really know how to fight. Judging from the airport planning this time, the Indian Air Force does not know how to construct the battlefield.

(The Indian Air Force has been using Nioma Airport for a long time)

The western line of the Sino-Indian border is located at the southern foot of the Himalayas, and the terrain is dangerous. It is indeed not easy to find a flat land to build the airport. This puts forward high requirements for the planning level of the air force battlefield construction. If you only want to build a field airfield for transport aircraft to provide supplies to the front-line troops, then the site selection should not be too difficult. But if airfields are to be built for more advanced fighter jets, the problem is much more complicated. Not only need to build a hard runway with a length of about 1,000 meters, but also build an oil depot and ammunition depot and a flight command and control center. The runways are even longer if you take into account the large aircraft taking off and landing to supply these bases with ammunition, fuel and other supplies.

At present, air operations are highly dependent on guided weapons, so air bases must also have well-conditioned ammunition depots to store high-precision weapons such as air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles. Construction is still quite difficult. India is also a country with relatively poor infrastructure engineering capabilities. It is very difficult to build roads in the plateau and mountains. It is indeed unknown whether the airport can be built on its own.

India has long relied on the Leh airport in the so-called “Ladakh region” on the western front. But this is a dual-use airport, and the Indian Army Air Forces also take off and land here, so the operating load of the airport is very high. Not conducive to high-intensity combat use. Therefore, the Indian army wants to build a more advanced airport, which is reasonable in terms of tactical needs.

(village near Nioma)

However, the location of Nioma Airport is really not wise. From the measurement on the map, we can find that the distance between Nioma Airport and the China-India Actual Control Line is less than 50 kilometers, which is completely within the attack range of the PLA artillery. If the Indian side really deploys advanced fighter jets here, the PLA does not even need anti-aircraft firepower. Pulling the “Far Fire” rocket launcher or 155mm howitzer to the front can effectively suppress it.

The decision of the Indian army to make such a decision is a product of habitual thinking. For many years, the Indian military has been using Nioma Airport to take off and land C17 and C130 transport aircraft. The Indian Army Air Chinook helicopters can also take off and land from here. The Indian side wants to find a relatively large flat land to build an airport, but it is indeed not easy to find.

If it is placed in the 1970s and 1980s, that is, the period of the PLA’s self-defense counterattack in southern Xinjiang, the distance of 50 kilometers has indeed exceeded the strike capability of artillery firepower. According to the statement at the time, the 130mm cannon with the longest range of the People’s Liberation Army can only hit 30 kilometers away, which is already counted as a kind of long-range firepower. However, with the changes of the times, the range of the army artillery is getting farther and farther. The PLC181 howitzer deployed by the PLA in the plateau has a firing range of 58 kilometers. Especially under the thin air of the plateau mountains, the range of this howitzer can be further increased. In addition, the PLA also has a large number of 300mm long-range rocket launchers. The range of the basic model is more than 70 kilometers, and the range of the extended-range model can exceed 300 kilometers.

(Leh Airport is overwhelmed)

Therefore, the decision made by the Indian side to build Nioma Airport is bizarre, perhaps they did not think about this issue. Maybe the Indian Army just wants to build an air base here to give Congress an explanation, rather than really expecting it to work in times of war.

For whatever reason, is this a manifestation of the psychedelic thinking of the Indian army?