In a joint operation with Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force on Saturday conducted long-range maritime air exercise – Gagan Shakti – in the Western Seaboard. One highlight of the exercise was IL-78 flight refuelling IAF aircraft midair. According to the IAF, the re-fuelling ensures “long range striking capabilities”.
"As part of the ongoing massive IAF exercise 'Gaganshakti', IAF conducted maritime air operations on the western sea board, with the clear aim of air dominance and deep strike validation over the extended area of interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)," the Indian Air Force said in a statement.
#GaganShakti2018 : MARITIME AIR OPS -On 14Apr18, in a joint ops with #IndianNavy , #IAF conducted Long-range Maritime Strike in the Western Seaboard. The Aim of Ops was Air Dominance & Deep Strike Validation over our strategic area of influence in the IOR.https://t.co/qUqXD70xpX pic.twitter.com/JJArO9xudM
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 14, 2018
"In the long range strike concept validation, the Su-30s, airborne from a base on the Eastern Coast engaged multiple targets, in the Western Sea-board, at distances in excess of 2200 Km. These aircraft then landed at a Southern Base, thus covering a total distance of 3600 Km, in a single mission," the IAF statement further said.
The operation was supported by Indian Navy's P-8i reconnaissance aircraft and AWACS of IAF. Officials said the two-week-long exercise is involving almost the entire assets of the IAF including its fighter squadrons and the main objective of the day-and-night drill is to check war waging capability of the force.
The IAF said the exercise 'Gaganshakti' has provided an ideal environment to evaluate joint operations with the Navy.
"The exploitation of the combat support assets helps to extend the reach in the entire IOR, our strategic area of influence," the IAF said.
The officials said the exercise from April 8-22 is one of the biggest in recent decades, adding Pakistan has already been informed about it as per laid down protocol.
(With PTI Inputs)