IAF Conducts Day- Night Exercise ‘VayuShakti’ in Rajasthan
The Air Force on Saturday carried out a mega exercise involving 140 fighter jets and attack helicopters, in a firepower demonstration close to the border with Pakistan that came two days after the Pulwama attack. The drill was a demonstration of the force's capability to hit targets with "pinpoint accuracy" and carry out missions at short notice.
About the exercise
- The exercise was witnessed by Chairman, Armed Forces Tribunal, Justice Virender Singh and the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawa.
- Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa Chief of the Air Staff, arrived directly at Pokhran by a C-130 J Hercules aircraft which displayed its short field landing capabilities.
- After the arrival of the guest the release of a Coffee Table book titled '1971 Indo-Pak War: An Aerial Account' took place.
- In the Vayu Shakti exercise, the IAF showcased firepower capability of indigenously-developed platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and efficacy of Akash surface-to-air missile and Astra air-to-air missile.
- This was the first time that ALH and Akash were inducted in the exercise.
- The IAF chief quoted "We are showcasing our ability to hit hard, hit fast and hit with precision, hit during the day, hit during the night and hit under adverse weather conditions,".
- The IAF also deployed the upgraded MiG-29 fighter jet in an air-to-ground role during the exercise. A total of 137 aircraft including Sukhoi-30s, Mirage 2000s, Jaguars, Mig-21 Bison, Mig-27, Mig-29, IL78, Hercules and AN-32 aircraft participated.
- During the Fire Power Display, various simulated enemy targets on the ground and in the air were targeted and destroyed employing a variety of missiles, precision-guided munitions, unguided bombs and rockets by different fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
- The setting sun was the harbinger of special heliborne operations that included Bambi bucket ops to put out large fires, and troop insertion by low hover jump and rappelling.
- Garud Special Forces after that gave a scintillating display of anti-insurgency operations in an urban area.
- This was followed by a flypast by the Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft, which concluded the day segment of the display.
- As dusk fell, the desertscape witnessed paradrop of Garud Special Forces on to the venue from an An-32 aircraft flying high above.
- As night descended, the indigenous Surface-to-Air Guided weapon: the Akash missile, knocked out a target flying in the sky above.
- This was followed by Mi-17V5 and Mi-35 helicopters raining rockets on simulated enemy targets. Su-30, Jaguar and Mig-27 upgrade aircraft resumed operations and destroyed the remaining targets with accuracy, displaying the IAF’s operational capability by night.
- The demonstration was capped with a scintillating display of flare dispensation by an An-32 and a C-130J Hercules aircraft that lit up the night sky.
The exercise showed the IAF's capability and commitment to meeting national security challenges and defending the sovereignty of our country.