IAF’s Ex­er­cise Ga­gan­Shakti 2018

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence Inindia -

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).

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