Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Firepower of Air Force and skill of warriors fills our hearts with immense pride, says PM Modi

The Thar desert on Friday witnessed a scintillating display of the might of the Indian Air Force with performance by air warriors and over 180 aircraft.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2016, 05:52 AM IST
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Firepower of Air Force and skill of warriors fills our hearts with immense pride, says PM Modi
Pic Courtesy - PIB

Pokhran: The Thar desert on Friday witnessed a scintillating display of the might of the Indian Air Force with performance by air warriors and over 180 aircraft leaving spellbound the audience which included President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The thundering sound of finest fighter jets - Sukhoi, Mirage, MiG and Jaguar - rocked the sky at this otherwise calm place, which is historically known for series of nuclear tests conducted in 1998 during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure.

The firing of Akash missile was also undertaken for the first time in IAF's history of fire power demonstration.

The demonstration of operational and firepower capabilities by fighter jets, choppers and transport aircraft of the IAF in the day-night mammoth exercise named Iron Fist 2016, near the Indo-Pak border was in six themes, making it one of the biggest events of the force which showcased more than 22 types of platforms and weapons systems.

The exercise started with the day and dusk events and ended with display of night operations

Through their courageous manoeuvre, fighter pilots showed transformation of the Air Force, air defence and combat skills of its personnel in carrying out multi-faceted operations.

Later tweeting about the event, PM Modi wrote: "Firepower of the Air Force and the skill of the Air Warriors fills our hearts with immense pride."

In another post he said, "Combat and manoeuvre skills, attack and defence capabilities displayed by IAF are spectacular and speak of the prowess and dedication of our forces."

The grand event began with flypast showing IAF's journey over eight decades, with the aircraft of 1930s era - Tiger Moth. Then came a superb fly past by seven aircraft including MiG and Sukhoi. It was followed by tactical manoeuver by a team of four 'Surya Kiran' aircraft.

The sound of precision based bombings at simulated targets by Mirage-2000, Sukhoi 30, MiG-27 and Jaguar astounded all audience.

The Air Force showcased its multi-layered air defence operations through fly-past by flight refuelling aircraft, IL-78 FRA along with two Sukhoi 30 fighter jets which demonstrated the ability to extend on-station endurance and strategic reach of fighter aircraft.

This exercise also included surface to air guided weapons like IGLA, shoulder-fired missile system and the OSA-AK missiles striking down airborne targets.

Capability demonstration of the indigenously developed 'Tejas' aircraft to deliver laser guided bomb and fire an air-to-air missile and the capacity of the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter to carry out rocket firing was also displayed during the programme.

A total of 24 Garud commandos were para dropped by L 17 Globemaster aircraft to showcase their ability to carry out highly sophisticated operations.

At sun set, few aircraft participated to show their prowess in accomplishing night targets and demonstrated all weather operations.

The event was also attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Air Chief Arup Raha, Army Chief General Dalbir Suhag, Navy Chief RK Dhowan and scores of defence personnel. 

(With PTI inputs)