AVIAINDRA-2018: IAF’s Special Forces ‘Garud’ Undertake Air-Borne Assault Operation in Anti-Terrorist Scenario

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Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa with Indian nd Russian pilots at Air Force Station Jodhpur (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

During the ongoing exercise Aviaindra-2018 between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Russian Federation Aerospace Force (RFASF), the IAF’s Special Forces ‘GARUD’ undertook an airborne assault operation in an anti-terrorist scenario at Air Force Station Jodhpur. The An-32 aircraft of the IAF was piloted by a mix crew of IAF and RFASF. Indian and Russian pilots also flew Sukhoi-30MKI during the exercise. The second leg of the joint exercise started from December 10 and is scheduled to continue till December 21. The first phase was held in at Lipetsk, Russia from September 17 to 28.

Yesterday, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa interacted with pilots of both the air forces. Chief of the Air Staff was received by Air Commodore Philip Thomas, Air Officer Commanding Air Force Station Jodhpur. The second edition of Ex AVIAINDRA is aimed at exposing RFASF and IAF pilots to single/multi aircraft missions in a Counter Terrorism Scenario within the predefined scope.  The 30 member RFASF contingent comprises of fighter, transport and helicopter pilots.

During the interaction, Chief of the Air Staff welcomed RFASF team and emphasised the importance of joint exercises, as they create an environment of camaraderie and provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices. Meanwhile, earlier in December, the IAF also conducted the fourth edition of the Cope India exercise with the United States Air Force (USAF) at Kalaikunda Air Force Station. Both the IAF and the USAF practiced airborne assaults on ‘enemy’ territory.

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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’.

 

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.

 

Indian Navy Trolls China Through Tweets Over Patrolling in Indian Ocean Region

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                                             Chinese Naval Ships Patrolling in the Indian Ocean Region                                                         (Picture Courtesy: @IndianNavy/Twitter)

The Indian Navy on Tuesday conveyed a strong message to China in a very subtle and sarcastic way. The navy tweeted photographs of the Chines warships payrolling in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) during the time when The Indian Air Force (IAF) conducting the latest leg of the war-time exercise ‘Gagan Shakti 2018 with fighters jest like Sukhoi 30 MKI and Jaguar equipped with anti-warship weaponry flying over the region.

In its first tweet, the Indian Navy in a very sarcastic way said, “#MaritimeDomainAwareness @indiannavy extends a warm welcome to the 29th Anti-Piracy Escort Force (APEF) of PLA(N) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Happy Hunting.”

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Half an hour later in its second tweet the navy posted a map of the the Indian Ocean Region stating that 50 combat-ready Indian naval warships were carrying out continuous surveillance of the area.

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The 29th fleet from People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) left east China’s port city Zhoushan for the Gulf of Aden to escort civilian ships by carry out anti-piracy vigils off the Somali Coast. According to People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the fleet consists of 700 officers and soldiers, dozens of special operation soldiers, and two helicopters on board.

For the first time The Indian Navy has resorted to twitter to convey its message to China. The navy is keeping a close eye on the activities of Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean Region especially after Doklam stand-off. China’s has increased its patrols in the IOR after the stand-off. In October 2017, The Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba gave his approval for the deployment of mission-ready warships and aircrafts in the IOR to effectively counter China’s aggression. During Maldives crisis in February, Chinese warships were seeing patrolling in the region.

 

Fighter Jet Sukhoi Refuelled Mid-Air during Indian Air Force’s ‘Gagan Shakti’ Exercise

 

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Air to Air refuelling of Sukhoi 30 MKI during ‘Gagan Shakti 2018’ (Picture Courtesy : Twitter – @IAF_MCC)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) exhibited an extraordinary display of air-to-air refueling of a fighter jet during a two-week long ‘Gagan Shakti 2018’ exercise. A video showed pilots preparing to refuel Sukhoi-30 MKI jet.  According to a report published in NDTV, The Sukhoi Su-30 jet took off from Kalaikunda airbase in West Bengal’s Kharagpur. It returned to the base after engaging in multiple targets over the area of Lakshadweep. The jet was refuelled twice during the flight towards Lakshadweep and as well as return flight after completing the mission.

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Picture Courtesy : Twitter – @IAF_MCC

Air to air refuelling is the most difficult task to perform which requires exception skills. The receptacle probe has to be accurately inserted into the basket shaped drogue trailing behind the fuel tanker by the receiving aircraft. Accuracy is the key to execute this task.

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IL-78 Refueler aircraft of the Indian Air Force (Picture Courtesy: http://www.defenceupdate.in)

Air-to-air refuelling increases the combat capabilities of the fighter aircraft. The IAF has already started the process to procure six more flight refueler aircraft (FRA) in January 2018. Currently India has six IL-78 FRAs, but these are facing maintenance issues.

Around 1,100 aircrafts, including fighter jets, helicopters and transport have been mobilised by the Indian Air Force during the exercise. More than 4,000 sorties have been planned during ‘Gagan Shakti 2018’. IAF also conducted a mass casualty air evacuation drill in the northern sector. 88 casualties were airlifted from Leh and taken to Chandigarh. The C-17 Globe Master Aircraft was converted for this role by fixing support structures for the stretchers, in the main cabin, reported ANI