''DAKSHIN PRAHAR'' to integrate civil, defence forces

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 29 (UNI) ''DAKSHIN PRAHAR'', a multi-role exercise involving the three forces and the Airport Authority of India (AAI), will see for the first time an integration of civil and defence forces in a big way.

Titled ''Flexi Air Space'', this was conducted in the northern sector in a limited way and this was the first time that the coordination of the civil and defence forces was seen in a big way, Senior Air Staff Officer, Southern Air Command, Air Vice-Marshal Rajendra Singh told reporters here.

During the exercise, Mirage-2000, Su-30s and Jaguars would be simulating friendly and hostile forces over long aerial ranges covering the length and breadth of the country using air to air refuelling facilities and off-base operations. Other aircrafts participating in the associated logistical support include mammoth IL-76, the workhorse AN-32, ubiquitous Mi-8 helicopters and the Unmanned Air Vehicles.

Pointing out that air traffic was the highest in the southern region, he said coordination at every minute was needed for accuracy. ''We have to go into even minute details so that a smooth flow of traffic is maintained without causing disruption to scheduled flights,'' AVM Singh said.

About 30 aircraft, including transport airplanes, would participate in the exercise, he said and added the IAF flights would fly at between 10,00 and 15,00 feet. The civilian planes would be flying above 15,000 feet, he said.

As part of the exercise, six Mirage 2000 landed here today. The first phase covering the southern part of the peninsula from Bangalore to Kanyakumari, Lakshdweep and Minicoy Island groups would be held on December 3, 4 and 5. The second phase would see activity in the northern part of the peninsula from Hyderabad to Nagpur on December 7, 8 and 9.

AVM Singh said the ''DAKSHIN PRAHAR'' was aimed at activating air defence assets deployed in the region and carry out a functional assessment of its air defence network. Another aim was the ''Flexi Airspce'' concept, he added.

UNI

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