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.

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