DAKSHIN PRAHAR, unique air exercise down south

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 29 (UNI) The Southern Peninsula, Lakshadweep and Minicoy group of islands will experience for the first time a unique Air exercise, ''DAKSHIN PRAHAR', which will see state-of-the-art aircraft such as Mirage-2000, Su-30s and Jaguars adorning the skies next month.

During the exercise, the aircraft 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 aircraft, participating in the associated logistical support are the mammoth IL-76, the workhorse AN-32 and ubiquitous Mi-8 helicopters. Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) would also be part of the exercise to be held in the first week of December, a release said here.

With the concept of 'Flexi Airspace', which forms the foundation of this exercise, the Indian Air Force and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) would jointly share the airspace so that a smooth flow of traffic was maintained without causing disruption to scheduled flights. This is for the first time that civil-military traffic coordination for simultaneous air activity was taking place at such a large scale.

To be conducted in two phases, the first phase would cover the southern part of the peninsula from Bangalore to Kanyakumari and Lakshdweep and Minicoy Island groups. The second phase would see the activity in the northern part of the peninsula from Hyderabad to Nagpur.

The vast geographical region of southern peninsula had so far remained dormant from holding such exercises and the Southern Air Command had now taken steps to guard the skies of the strategically and economically important part of the country.

'DAKSHIN PRAHAR' is the first step aimed to activate the Air Defence assets deployed in the region and carry out a functional assessment of its Air Defence network.

UNI

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