Gaganshakti 2018: The Indian Air Force is planning to have a country-wide war training exercise between April 8th to 22nd. This will be India’s biggest combat exercise along the borders of Pakistan and China ever – something that is being seen as a big signal from India to the neighbouring countries.
The combat exercise will be conducted in both the western and the northern borders. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will conduct the exercise with real-time deployment and employment of air power assets in a simulated, short and intense battle scenario, said officials from IAF. Gaganshakti is a biennial exercise to assess war waging capabilities of IAF. During this exercise, the entire machinery of the IAF will be activated, officials added.
The IAF will mobilise more than 15,000 Air Force personnel, which includes 300 officers. The IAF will also mobilise and activate over 1,100 combat ready helicopters. Jaguars and Sukhois will fly extensively over the seas to support the Navy. Though IAF is falling short of fighter squadrons, it is trying to overcome the inadequacy by conducting ‘surge operations’. This is the first time that IAF will be indulging in surge operations.
#GAGANSHAKTI2018 : Pan India Exercise from 08-22 Apr 18, to hone the skills of Airwarriors, to strike Adversaries’ Targets, Practice Air Support & Joint Ops with the sister services by Day & Night. Missions would be conducted in a near Real time scenario.https://t.co/wrvnvhGLCp pic.twitter.com/VRAiZMl37o
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 6, 2018
The Gagan Shakti combat training will so for the first time see the use of indigenously built Tejas LCA fighter jets. As of now, IAF has only one squadron of Tejas fighter jets and confirmed that it will induct 324 Tejas fighter jets soon.
This synergised combat exercise will showcase accelerated 24×7 operations, network-centric operations, multi-spectrum capabilities, offensive manoeuvring tactics, joint operations with the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. Exercises of combat search and rescue and mass casualty evacuation will also be conducted.
The exercise to protect the Indian skies will see an entire gamut of training and operations. The exercise is said to cover the altitudes of 20,000 feet and geographical areas ranging from mountains, deserts, plateaus and seas.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bharat Electronics Limited will be assisting the IAF in carrying out this massive exercise. Both the aerospace companies will be shifting the base of their technicians for the purposes of maintenance.
The all-encompassing Gaganshakti 2018 will be conducted in two phases, the first being at the western border and second phase will be along the northern borders with Pakistan.