By Anil Poddar
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visits Chabua Air Force Station in Assam to take stock of the ongoing exercise Gagan Shakti 2018 by the Air Force.
The Defence Minister along with Chief of Air Staff and top Air Force officials visited Dollungmukh in lower subanshiri to witness ground firing, bombing. She visited Pasighat to inaugurate the Advance Landing Ground there.
Gagan Shakti is the biggest military exercise in decades undertaken by India to showcase its air 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.
To conduct this exercise, the IAF has mobilized more than 1,100 combat, transport and rotary wing (helicopter) aircrafts, apart from 300 officers and 1500 airmen.
The IAF is conducting all terrain operations – desert, high altitude, maritime scenarios and special operations- in real time with specific focus on key areas like aerial combat, air to surface combat, paratrooper assault and medical evacuation.
The first phase of the exercise began on April 10, in which the focus was on the western border with Pakistan. In this phase, Su-30 and Jaguar fighter aircraft equipped with the potent Brahmos and Harpoon Anti-ship missiles addressed in-depth targets over the Western sea boards.
Currently, phase two the combat mission is going on with the focus now shifting to the eastern corridor – near the China border in the north-eastern states.This will go on until April 23.
Extensive missions will be flown by the Su-30 and Jaguar in conjunction with the Indian Navy’s P-8i MR aircraft using long range weapons to refine and practice offensive and defensive tactics against maritime targets.
The two-week long exercise will involve almost the entire assets of the IAF, including its fighter squadrons, and will be used to assess war waging might of the force.