The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on April 17, visited northern and western sectors during the first phase of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’, to review the operational its strength of the force. The two-week long training exercise involves entire fleet strength of the IAF. The main aim of the exercise is to exhibit war preparedness and to test its capabilities in terms of equipment and stealth to perform operations.
Joint maritime operations are to be conducted in coordination with the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. To test the capability of the IAF to take over a civil airport under control of hostile elements, Garud Commandoes took over the control of a designated airfield. The operations were executed with stealth and clockwork precision, which demonstrated IAF efficiency. The IAF also conducted Long Range Strike Mission over the extended area of the Indian Ocean (IOR). In the long range strike concept validation, Sukhoi 30-MKI carried out Air-Air Refueling and engaged multiple targets at ranges in excess of 2000 Kms.
On Saturday, as part of the exercise, The IAF along with the Indian Army’s Parachute Brigade conducted a battalion level air drop from Hindon airbase, which demonstratd high coordination level between the two forces. This air drop had 560 paratroopers, combat vehicles and GPS guided cargo platforms. 6 C-130Ja and 7 An-32 aircraft were part of the exercise.
According to inputs from ANI, more than 300 officers and around 15000 airmen from The Indian Air Force are participating in the exercise. Operational capabilities of indigenous built Tejas would also be tested in this exercise. Around 1,100 aircrafts including fighter jets, helicopters and transport carriers are part of this exercise. In an interview with The Indian Express, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said that “full credit goes to our engineers that we have built up the serviceability of fighter aircraft to 80 percent, compared to a target of 75 percent, and a dispatch reliability of more than 95 percent during Gagan Shakti exercise.”
In its latest leg of ‘Gagan Shakti 2018’, The IAF’s Sukhoi 30-MKI and Jaguar fighter jets equipped with anti-warships weaponry are flying over the Indian Ocean Region.