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Gagan Shakti 2018: Indian Air Force set for show of strength in exercises with Army and Navy

Every single air power asset of the Air Force will be put to the test.

Gagan Shakti 2018: Indian Air Force set for show of strength in exercises with Army and Navy
A fly-by of the Indian Air Force. From left to right: Sukhoi Su-30, Mikoyan MiG-29, Mikoyan MiG-27 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. (Picture: Sainik Samachar)

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force is preparing to test out all its air power assets and its operational preparedness and doctrines in the Gagan Shakti 2018 exercise. The IAF will play out real-time scenarios across the country, and will also test out its working relationship with the Indian Army and Indian Navy as part of the exercises.

The 2018 edition of the biennial Gagan Shakti exercise will take place from April 8 to 22. The exercises are not only meant to test the operational preparedness of the various arms of the IAF, but also to refine standard operating procedures (SOPs) and improve the integration of new infrastructure into the force. This will also be the first exercise that the recently-inducted HAL Tejas single-engine supersonic multi-role fighter will take part in.

"Pan India Exercise from 08-22 Apr 18, to hone the skills of Airwarriors, to strike Adversaries' Targets, Practice Air Support & Joint Ops with the sister services by Day & Night. Missions would be conducted in a near Real time scenario," read a tweet from the Air Force, which also carried a video.



The exercises will see the entire IAF machinery move into top gear to simulate war scenarios in real-time. So, apart from its own sorties, bombing and air superiority missions, the Air Force will also provide close air support for ground operations and carry out marine support with the Indian Navy. All relevant missions will feature live fire drills.

"Some of the key elements of the exercise are: Accelerated 24x7 Operations, Network Centric Ops & Live Weapon Firing Missions, Long range Maritime Ops, Joint Ops with the Indian Army & Indian Navy, Combat Search & Rescue, GARUD Ops, Mass Casualty Evacuation from highways, ALG Ops to name a few," read a post by the Air Force.

IAF is also likely to put its procedures with nuclear weapons to the test, in conjunction with the Strategic Forces Command.