IAF demonstrates skills to take on China-Pak might

IAF demonstrates skills to take on China-Pak might

2-front strategy to be discussed in Delhi

The Indian Air Force is now fully capable of taking on any pincer attack by China and Pakistan. In its biggest war-game that concluded in the first week of April, India’s air warriors are known to have successfully demonstrated this.

Spanning over three weeks, the exercise Live-Wire that involved four of the five air commands was a validation of two-front deployment capacity of the IAF, IAF sources said on Monday.

Even though the army is preparing itself to counter simultaneous strikes on the eastern and western borders, IAF for the first time demonstrated it too can match the ground forces in stepping up the offensive against enemies from both sides of the border.

Lessons learnt from the validation of two-front strategy would be discussed at the IAF commander's conference that will begin in the capital on Tuesday.

During the exercise, the IAF,  for the first time, was able to operate not only from all its bases but also from eight advanced landing grounds (ALG) in the north east, which the IAF has reactivated for the first time since the World War-II. The ALGs are Along, Walong, Tuting, Ziro, Pasighat, Vijaynagar, Tawang and Mechuka. All of them are in the border state of Arunachal Pradesh.

In the first phase of the exercise between March 18 and 26, Western Air Command in Delhi and South Western Air Command in Ahmedabad took a lead role. In the next step, the action shifted to the eastern front, in which WAC, central air command in Allahabad and eastern air command in Shillong took the initiative.

“More than 400 fighters and 200 transporters flew during the entire exercise. The swing force — IL-78 mid-air refullers

— were taken from the west to east,” IAF officials said. There were both strategic and tactical missions, whose nature was kept under wraps.

While on the western front, air strikes were conducted in the SK range near Ludhiana and Mahajan and Pokhran in Rajasthan, the hilly forest of the north east was the theatre of action on the eastern wing. IAF chief NAK Browne flew the Phalcon AWACS, a mid-air radar system, that too act as a force multiplier.

“Two thousand tonnes of load were moved by 100 aircraft during LiveWire, which is the largest ever load movement by the IAF,” they said.

Even though the government is considering establishment of a mountain strike division for the north-east with headquarters in West Bengal, IAF has already begun strengthening its presence in the east to counter threats from the Chinese side.

IAF has based its advanced fighter Su-30 MKI in Tezpur and Chabua. It is upgrading Panagarh as a full-fledged flying base where the next squadron of C-130J Super Hercules would be based. Negotiations for these US-made planes, suitable for special operations because of low flying capability and quick turn around time, are going on.
The utility of C-130 J was demonstrated to the President and Prime Minister in a massive fire power demonstration named Iron-Fist in February.

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