IAF’s Exercise GaganShakti 2018
For two weeks in April 2018 (8-22), the Indian Air Force carried out its largest exercise extant, the aim of GaganShakti 2018 being “deployment and employment of IAF assets in a short and intense battle scenarios.” Conducted in two phases, to test the efficacy of various Commands, Phase-I involving Western, South Western and Southern Air Commands, with affiliated Army and Navy components while Phase-II meant relocating bulk of the forces to the East and Northeast, within a short span of 48 hours.
According to official debriefing, of the 11, 000 sorties during the pan-India exercise, around 9000 were of fighters including Sukhoi Su-30MKIs, Mirage 2000s, Jaguars, MiG-21s, MiG-29s, Tejas and Hawk advanced jet trainers (in a combat support role). Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa metaphorically stated that the IAF was “Shaking the Heavens and splitting the Earth” with the extremely rapid operational tempo maintained during the Exercise. There were also reports that Su-30MKIs from airbases in Southern India, carried out long range simulated attacks, also with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles on targets in the Malacca Straits, 9 Degree Channel and other sensitive places in the seas around the Indian peninsula. (See article in this issue).