The Facts : About Thoise operation by IL-76
I was then in command of NO44 Sqn. Operation Brass Tacks was at peak and blooming. All Sqdns of the IAF had been moved to their Op locations. So was 44 Sqn moved to Nagpur by mid Jan 1987.
I was called to Air Hq during 3rd week of Jan 1987. Then ACAS (Ops) briefed me that Cat ‘A’ vehicles of the Army (BMP’s) are to be moved to Shyok Valley. Thoise Runway was just 1700 meters at that time: I discussed the matter with the ACAS (ops) and the Dops (T & M). And desired that I would like to make a heptr recee to Thoise.
The recee was done on 27/28 Jan 1987. A Broad white line was marked on the landing R/W to indicate the touchdown point. All touchdowns were to be ensured ± 1 meter of the white line. Any overshoot of white line would have resulted over shoot and the touchdown before the white line would have resulted a touchdown on Kaccha. WAT calculations were done and an empty aircraft (IL-76) landing was carried out on 29 Jan 1987. After that 2 IL-76 were positioned at Chandigarh and I commanded 18-20 sorties in about 4 days time.
Date 29-30, 31 Jan & 1 Feb 1987 RW length at TE-1700 meter. Load carried –one BMP in each sortie was carried weighing 13.5 Tonnes.Off loading time at TE-7 minuts.
Spl Note- Every time I landed at Thoise Lt Gen Handoo, then Army Cdr NC, used to bring a cup of tea and a samosa for me and hug me and state “Ashok you have done yeoman service to the Indian Army. At that time IL-76 were operating even at sea level to airfields of 2400 meter length.
Later on IL-76 started regular operations to Thoise when R/W was extended to 2700 meters. I was AOC CG during 1992-1993. Now R/W length at Thoise is 3500 meters. That is the story of Thoise. One of the most satisfying operations, at that time. Senior Tpt Pilots had warned me “don’t be fool hardy. You would kill yourself”. The firsthand account of Thoise operations.