Exercise Live Wire 2013
[ By Air Marshal (Retd) Anil Chopra
T] he Indian Air Force has conducted its largest exercise ever, Live Wire 2013, between March 18 and April 4, 2013. After exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’ in 2006, this was the first exercise of this scale. There were many firsts this time. The new systems fielded extensively were the Su-30MKI, airborne warning and control system (AWACS), C-130J, new radars, and integrated air command and control system (IACCS). The operational Air Force Net (AFNET) allowed network-centric operations to be tested. Operations with Indian Navy were conducted in Exercises ‘Tropics’ and ‘Dakshin Parhar’ as a prelude to the main exercise. The exercise was initially restricted to the western sector and to test its swing forces, a two-front war scenario was part of the later days. The missions culminated in live weapon firing. Flight refuelling was extensively used for inter- and intra-theatre sorties. Defence of targets in the air and on the ground was the main theme.
Large force packages with AWACS support were flown. Offensive operational tactics and doctrines were validated. Transport aircraft and helicopters also flew live weapon missions. There were significant joint operations with the Indian Army. An important feature was the flexi use of airspace. An exercise of this massive scale was flown without any disruption to civil traffic and yet not compromising on tactical value. The 8,000-plus-hour exercise included operations in the Northeast. In the coming days, IAF would be analysing data and evolving important lessons.