Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa Raises Concern Over Chinese Air Force’s Increasing Presence in Tibet

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Representational Image (Picture Courtesy: PTI/File)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on April 26, said that there was a ‘significant increase’ in the presence Chinese aircraft and aircrew in the Tibet Autonomous region as compared to any other military region. This statement of the Chief of Air Staff comes at the time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in China for a two-day meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

While speaking at a talk on the role of the IAF in the changing security environment conducted by the Vivekananda International Foundation, Dhanoa said, “Over the past few years we have seen a significant increase in aircraft and aircrew in the Tibet Autonomous Region from other military regions. The deployment of Sukhoi-27 and J-10 fleets for continuous operations during winter months affords them a credible year-round capability. Earlier, many years back they only used to occupy the airfields during the summers.” reported The Economic Times. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa also warned India to step up preparations, as rival country is strengthening its fire power.

The IAF chief also highlighted the improvement made by the Chinese Air Force. According to Dhanoa, China has developed a modern air force which believes in quality rather than quantity. and China has also the second largest air force in the world. Decribing the capabilities of the Chinese Air Force, Dhanoa said that China had a mix of multi-role fighter and combat aircraft. The IAF Chief also stressed on the fact that China has geographical disadvantage in Tibet due to high altitude and cold temperatures.

The Chief of Air Staff also highlighted the strength of the Indian Air Force, but at the same time, he stressed on the fact that the IAF needs to acquire its full strength of 42 squadrons to compete with the growing air power of the neighbour country. Presently the Indian Air Force has 31 fighter squadrons.

The Air Chief appreciated the efforts of the force in the recently concluded war-like exercise ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’ as it met the objectives of the force. It is very interesting to note that both India and China have never violated the each other’s airspace.

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Indigenous Built LCA-Tejas Performed Well During The ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’

 

The major positive to take away from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) biggest war-like exercise, ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018′ is the performance of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The indigenously-manufactured (LCA) Tejas was put to test by the IAF in the 14-day long exercise. The aircraft performed as per the requirement of the force.

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LCA-Tejas in action during Gagan-Shakti 2018 (Picture Courtesy:Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

The major positive to take away from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) biggest war-like exercise, ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018‘ is the performance of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The indigenously-manufactured (LCA) Tejas was put to test by the IAF in the 14-day long exercise. The aircraft performed as per the requirement of the force.

An IAF official who was involved in the exercise said, “We did trials and validation of operational efficiency of LCA Tejas. We were able to generate six sorties per platform per day. In this exercise, we had deployed eight platforms.” According to the official, on the very first day of the exercise, six Tejas aircraft reported ‘snag’, but the air force rectified it immediately. The ‘Gagan-Shakti’ started on April 8 and concluded on April 21.

The Officials associated with the exercise performed satisfaction regarding the performance of Tejas, but, they are worried about the slow production rate of the aircraft. LCA Tejas is a supersonic, single seat, single jet, multi-role light fighter designed by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). It has been under development since 1983. The LCA Tejas was inducted into ‘Flying Daggers’ 45 Squadron of the IAF on July 1, 2016. It is to replace the ageing Mig-21. In December 2017, Defence Acquisition Council had cleared procurement of 83 LCA Tejas Mark 1A.

At present, two contracts have been signed between IAF and HAL for the LCA one for the procurement of 20 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard aircraft and another for 20 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard aircraft. Till now only eight Tejas aircraft are in operation in the force. HAL is expected to provide rest 12 (IOC) aircraft this year. These 40 aircraft (20 IOC and 20 FOC) will be Tejas mark 1. HAL is also working on four major upgrades which it will incorporate in the manufacturing of the next 83 fighter jets out of which 10 are trainer aircraft. These aircraft will be Tejas Mark 1A.

Earlier this month the IAF has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for acquiring 110 fighter jets to strengthen its fighter capabilities. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70, Saab’s Gripen E, Boeing’s F/A 18 Super Hornet and Dassault Aviation’s Rafale are the major contenders for $15 billion deal. Currently, The Indian Air Force is facing the shortage of fighter jets as age-old Migs are about to retire over the next few years. If HAL could provide LCA Tejas on time, then it would definitely help the Indian Air Force to plug in the required gap.

The ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’ was organised with the aim to counter twin attack by China and Pakistan along western and northern border. Entire fleet strength of the force was put to test under war-like situation. LCA Tejas finally met the requirement of the Indin Air Force.

Highlights of ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’; Indian Air Force conducted 11,000 sorties

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Air to air fuelling during ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’ (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

A total of 11,000 sorties were conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) during its biggest war-like exercise ‘Gagan-Shakti’. The two-week long exercise concluded on 22nd April. These number sorties are generally done in a month’s time. Out of these 11,000 sorties, 9,000 done by the fighter aircraft alone were conducted in the pan-India exercise.

The exercise was conducted in two phases. In the first Phase the IAF tested its capability along the western border with Pakistan, and in the second phase, the IAF exhibited its strength along the northern border with China from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh. The main Aim of the exercise was to test the real-time coordination, deployment and employment of Air Power in a short and intense battle scenario. The IAF exercised the entire machinery to validate its concept of operations and war-waging capability. Around 1,400

Some of the other highlights of ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’ are:

  • During the exercise, Network Centric Operations were conducted with the focus to enhance situational awareness and to enable real-time data transfer between the weapon systems, satellite and ground-based systems.
  • Indigenous-built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas was put to the test. It carried out defence and Combat operations. 3)
  • Forward Surgical Centres (FSC) were set up at remote forward locations. FSC enhances medical capabilities and enables immediate life and limb-saving surgeries and stabilisation of patients away from service hospital.
  • Paratroopers of all the three wings of Defence forces were airdropped to targeted areas.
  • Special HeliBorne Operations (SHBO) mission was conducted by 2xMI-17 V5 helicopters of the IAF. Tri-Services Commandos were inserted in the objective area, to capture a Heli runway.
  • IAF fighter jets including Sukho-30 MKIs, Mirage 2000s, Hawks, Migs, and Jaguars conducted dusk-night-dawn operations. The IAF also tested its firepower by delivering ammunition with high precision.
  • Joint Maritime operations were performed in cooperation with the Indian Navy. Mass casualty drill was also undertaken to transfer injured troops to military hospitals.
  • The highlight of the exercise was the mid-air fueling, in which IL-78 demonstrated the importance of refuelling aircraft during any long-range missions, as it would ensure long-range strike capabilities for the Su-30 MKI.
  • The IAF also undertook a Battalion level airborne assault in the desert sector. It included a paradrop of 560 paratroopers of the IAF and the Indian Army, combat vehicles and GPS guided cargo platforms.
  • The IAF effectively exercised its Maritime warfighting concepts on both Western & Eastern seaboards. The primary focus in Phase–II was to address targets over Eastern Sea Board right up to Malacca Straits. Sukhoi -30MKI fighter jets equipped with BrahMoa missiles hit targets with precision in the Malacca Strait, the entry point where Chinese naval ships into the Indian Ocean Region.
  • A large number of Advanced Landing Grounds Operationalised for conducting Special Airborne Operations close to the simulated objective areas was undertaken.
  • The operation commandos of the IAF also executed Inter-Valley Troop Transfer (IVTT) along with the Indian Army. The IVTT was conducted in the high hills of North and North East along the Indo-Sino border. The aim was to validate the capability of the IAF and the Army to quickly transfer and redeploy acclimatised troops.
  • The Indian Air Force also tests readiness to deal with a biological, chemical and nuclear war and we were satisfied with our capability to deal with such situations during the exercise.

According to the Indian Air Force officials, the exercise met the parameters beyond expectations. The entire fleet strength of the force was showcased. China closely monitored the ‘Gagan-Shakti’.

 

India And Pakistan to Participate in Joint Military Exercise in Russia As Part of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

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Picture Courtesy: http://www.indianexpress.com

India along with Pakistan will be participating in a multi-nation military exercise to be conducted in Russia in September this year. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday officially announced India’s participation. Chinese forces will also be part of this exercise.

The military exercise in Russia is part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India, China, Russia and Pakistan and other SCO nations are attending the exercise. For the first time, India is attending the Defence Ministers’ meeting at SCO being hosted in China.

Indian and Pakistan soldiers have worked together in the past during the United Nations peacekeeping missions and that to while providing security or in convoy protection deployment. The exercise, “Peace Mission 2018” is scheduled to be held in Russia’s Ural Mountains. It will begin in August-end and conclude in the first week of September. It will be the first-ever exercise in which Indian and Pakistan militaries will be participating together to conduct the mock military operation to fight terrorists. ‘Peace Mission 2018’ will be the fifth edition of the biennial multilateral exercise by the SCO countries. According to sources, India will send a 200-strong contingent to Russia.

India and Pakistan became the full member of the SCO on June 9, 2017. Both the nations were admitted as observers in 2005 in the SCO, which started in 2001 in Shanghai by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Now the Organisation has eight full members ,four nations have been accorded “observer” status, while six others are “dialogue” partners.

During her China visit Sitharaman said, “India enjoys excellent bilateral defence cooperation with a large number of SCO countries, especially with Russia, as well as with all of India’s Central Asian partners represented in the SCO.” The Defence Minister further added, “We are guided in our relations with China by the consensus reached between our leaders that at the time of global uncertainty, India-China relations could be a factor of stability and that we must not allow our differences to become disputes.”

 

Gagan Shakti 2018: Sukhoi 30-MKI Equipped With Brahmos Missile Hit Targets Over Malacca Strait on Concluding Day

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Sukhoi 30-MKI (Picture Courtesy: http://www.sputniknews.com)

After carrying out extensive war drills along the borders with China, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had also carried out war-like operations on the locations from where the Chinese can gain entry into the Indian waters. During the second phase of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) mega war-exercise, Gagan Shakti-2018, Sukhoi-30 MKIs equipped with BrahMos missiles carried out strikes in the Malacca Strait. Malacca strait is the entry point Chinese naval ships has entered the Indian Ocean region.

The aircraft also carried out a sortie of over 2,000 kilometers where they were provided mid-air refuelling by Ilyushin 78 tankers and direction by the Airborne Early Warning Systems (AWACS), India Today reported citing sources. The Sukhoi -30 MKI launched BrahMos missiles. This showcased the capability of the aircraft to destroy enemy’s fighter jets from a distance of 300 km.

The Gagan Shakti 2018 which concluded yesterday was the biggest war-exercise carried out by the IAF. The two-week long exercise was conducted in two phases along the borders with Pakistan and China. In the first phase, its western command and south-western air command showcased the capability to counter enemy’s aggression on the western front, while in the second phase, the formations focused on the Chinese frontiers.

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IAF is conducting Advance Landing Ground (ALG) Operations in North East Sector as part of Gagan Shakti 2018                                                                                                                                              (Picture Courtesy: Arunachal24.in)
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Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing media (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

Entire fleet strength of the Indian Air Force took part in the exercise. Sorties were carried out across the entire country. Mid-air refueling, evacuation of war causalities from border to military hospitals, Advance Landing Ground Operations are performed during the exercise. IAF paratroopers also exhibited their skills in countering any emergency situation. The main aim of this exercise was to check the war preparedness of the force. Joint maritime operations were also conducted by the IAF in coordination with the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa also reviewed the exercise. Around 1,100 IAF aircrafts participated in the exercise. According to reports, 15,000 airmen and 300 officers were also part of the Gagan Shakti 2008.

This exercise has surely given a strong message to the rival nations and hs enhanced the morale of the forces.

 

Indian Air Force Conducts Advance Landing Ground Operations During ‘Gagan Shakti 2018’

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IAF is conducting Advance Landing Ground (ALG) Operations in North East Sector as part of Gagan Shakti 2018                                                                                                                                              (Picture Courtesy: Arunachal24.in)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in several areas in North East sector as part of the ongoing Gagan Shakti 2018 exercise. ALGs are unprepared airstrips which are usually placed at a short notice in far flung areas having challenging terrain with limited rail and road connectivity.

As India has many border areas which have limited connectivity, so the need for ALGs is critical. ALGs can transform the area into forward strike bases for the IAF if and when required. The IAF conducted Inter Valley Troop Transfers (IVTT), Special Heliborne Operations, Air Landed Operations and Special Operations by operationalising and utilising several ALGs.

IVTT Operations were carried out in Uttar Bharat Hills and at the Tezu-Walong in the north-east sector. Sukhoi 30-MKI fighter jets are also operating from almost every ALGs in the north-east sector.

Unpredictable weather, tough terrain, narrow corridor of approach and short runway lengths makes operation exteremely tough for pilots. The IAF appreciated the precision and efficiency of its personnel. According to the Ibdin Air Force, such type of precision and professionalism is important in determining the success of tactical operations.

As a part of Gagan Shakti 2018, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa inspected Air to Ground armament fired by Sukhoi 30-MKI and Mi-17 at DM Range, Assam. The exercise reflected IAF’s all-weather bombing capabilities and pin point precision. The Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the Air Chief Marshal also reviewed the taking off of Su-30 aircraft from Pasighat ALG amidst the challenging terrain of Arunachal Pradesh.  Sitharaman also addressed media in Chabua, Assam.

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Defence Minister along with Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa addresses media in Chabua, Assam (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@DefMinIndia)

Gagan Shakti is the biggest military exercise in decades undertaken by  the IAF  to showcase its  dominance over the entire extended area of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the biggest ever war combat game exercise on the Pakistan and China border.

 

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa Reviews ‘Gagan Shakti 2018’

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Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa visits northern and western sector to review ‘Gagan Shakti 2018’ (Picture Courtesy :@IAF_MCC)

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.

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                                  Indian Air Force;s Paratroopers in action during ‘Gagan Shakti 2018’                                           (Picture Courtesy: IndianAir Force)

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.

 

Six-Day long Army Conference Begins; Challenges along Pakistan, China Border to be Discussed

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General Bipin rawat During IMA POP (Picture Courtesy: IMA, Dehradun/File)

Six-day long conference of top army commander has begun today in New Delhi. Key issues faced by the country, especially challenges along Pakistan and China borders will be discussed. General Bipin Rawat chairs the conference.

According to a statement of Defence Ministry, Issues like infrastructure development for capacity enhancement along the northern borders, review of strategic railway lines, optimisation of limited budget to ensure making up of critical deficiency in ammunition will be discussed. Matter relating `to the welfare of soldiers and the issues of border road organisation project will also be discussed.

Subhash BHamre, the minister of state for defence is also present t the conference. BHamre said that The Indian Army should be ready to handle security challenges arising from both within and outside the country. Indian Army spokesman, Col. Aman Anand said in the statement. said, “Bhamre) stressed upon the need for being prepared for highly dynamic internal and external security challenges.”
The minister of state also appreciated the Indian Army’s countering security challenges faced by the nation and also applauded the army for undertaking various exercises with friendly foreign countries, which helped in nation’s development by establishing cordial relations with these countries. Bhamre also assured the army that government is fully aware of the army’s need and will fulfill all the requirements of the force. Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat also emphasises on the need to work in coordination in order to attain maximum combat effectiveness. He also focused on the need to moderenisation of the force.
 

Indian Air Force’s Biggest Exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’ begins today

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IAF to conduct its biggest exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’

The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) two-week long exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’ begins today. It is one of the biggest combat exercises to be conducted by the air force. The main aim of this exercise is to test the real time coordination and deployment of the air force in a short and war like situation. The exercise will be conducted in two separate phases along the western border with Pakistan and along the Northern Border with China. As part of a protocol Pakistan has been informed about the exercise.

The extent of this exercise can be gauged from the fact that round 300 officers and 15,000 airmen will take part in this exercise. The exercise will also see an involvement of 1100 fighter jets, so around 3,000 to 4,000 sorties can be conducted daily. The Indian Air Force will mobilise its equipment within 48 hours of the order of the Air Chief Marshal to test its capability in a war like situation.

Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will also be tested in the ‘Gagan Shakti’. It will be used for both offensive and defensive roles.  Joint Maritime operations will be conducted by The Indian Air Force in coordination with The Indian Army and the Indian Navy. The IAF said, “While it is an IAF centric exercise, it is planned to be executed keeping in mind the ‘Joint Operational Doctrine’. The requirements of the other services are being met and the same has been factored while planning the exercise settings.” Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) will depute its best 300 technicians for this exercise.

The IAF will conduct all terrain operations. Mobility and strength of air force will be put under test. Apart from wartime drills, IAF will also practice and validate various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief drills that the IAF is expected to undertake from time to time. In a statement IAF said, ”Some such measure would involve mobilization of Air Ambulance version of transport aircraft and helicopters to airlift simulated sitting and bedridden casualties to metros/big cities having good medical facilities and would include evacuation of casualties from highways that facilitate such operations.”

 

 

S-400 Triumf deal is expected to conclude by 31st March

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Picture Courtesy : http://www.sputniknews.com

India and Russia are on the verge of signing Rs 40,000 crore defence deal. Senior Defence official told The Hindu that the two countries could be just weeks away of signing one of the biggest defence deals.

The deal for the purchase of S-400 Triumf, long range air defence systems is expected to get closed by 31st March.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an intergovernmental agreement for the acquisition of five regiments of S-400s in October 2016 during the eighth BRICS summit.

According to the report published in The Hindu, Russia is not in favour of any offset clause because S-400 Triumf air defence System is very strategic in nature.

Acquiring S-400 will boost India’s air defence system as it can track and shoot down the incoming enemy aircraft  upto the range of 400 km. Indian Air Force will operate this system.

China is the first country to procure six battalions of S-400 air defence systems.