Indian Air Force dominates Pokharan air space in biggest ever wargame

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Pokharan, Feb 28 (ANI): Operation Vayu Shakti 2010 showcased the tremendous firepower demonstration of the Indian Air Force on Sunday in three parts-during the day, at dusk and at night, which is essential for the IAF's success in any battle.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and the three service chiefs, besides senior officers of the armed forces witnessed the firepower demonstration of the Air Force. Defence attaches of 28 countries including the US, UK, France also witnessed the preparedness of the IAF.

"Vayu Shakti 2010 is aimed at providing the nation reassurance that the IAF will deliver when called upon. The need of present time is to be lethal, flexible and agile," Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, the Chief of the Air Staff, said in a statement.

In order to control the air space of the Thar Desert, the area was battered by thousands of tonnes of TNT as combat aircraft and attack helicopeters of the IAF carried out the biggest ever exercise of live bombing, using air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

Besides control of the air space, the objective of the exercise was to destroy the enemy's war-making potential. The responsibility to hit hard at the enemy is the task of the Air Force and a critical requirement of any battle.

Almost every branch of the Air Force contributed to the mission. The IAF fighters blasted simulated targets on the ground with a breath-taking display of aerial combat.

The FPD saw frontline fighter aircraft like Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-21 and MiG-29. The supporting transport fleet included AN-32, Embraer and IL-76, while Mi-17 1V and Mi-35 attack helicopters constituted the rotary wing ingredients.

For the first time, Phalcon AWACS (air-borne warning and control system) were used to monitor the huge exercise, while an unmanned aerial vehicle streamed live video images of the target destruction. Another force multiplier - IL 78 mid air refueller - was also used in the exercise.

A total of 107 aircrafts participated in the exercise. Some of them getting airborne from far off bases like Agra, Bareily and Nagpur besides from bases in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

In addition, the Akash Ganga, the IAF's parajumping team and IAF's Garuda Force performed their dare devil stunts to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

The entire show, which was televised live across the country, was the outcome of a month-long planning, preparation and practice by the IAF pilots, engineers and the armament technicians who worked together to make the show a grand success.

The operation took place at Chandan field firing range at Pokharan, which is spread in 99,000 acres. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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