Aerial Exercises Current Affairs - 2019

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Exercise Gaganshakti 2018: IAF to conduct biggest combat exercise along Pakistan, China borders

Indian Air Force (IAF) is going to conduct Exercise Gaganshakti 2018, biggest air combat exercise along Pakistan, China borders between April 10 to 23, 2018.

The aim of this exercise is real time coordination, deployment and employment of air power in short and intense battle scenario. Though it is IAF centric exercise, it will also be executed keeping in mind “Joint Operational Doctrine” so that requirements of other services are also met.

Key Facts

The exercise is aimed at coordinating operations, maintenance and administrative responses to achieve stated objectives of IAF, in case of any contingency. This exercise will hone war fighting skills of air warriors in real time scenario thus affirming IAF’s role as cutting edge of India’s military capability.

In this pan India synergised exercise, IAF will mobilise its all assets in  war like scenario within 48 hours of orders from Air Force Chief. It will mobilise more than 1100 combat, transport and rotary wing (helicopter) aircrafts to practice real time combat scenario that will be conducted day and night with enemy encompassing along Pakistan border in Western areas and along China border in Northern areas.

The IAF in this exercise will showcase its multi spectrum capabilities, both offensive and defensive. It will conduct all terrain operations- high altitude, desert, maritime scenarios and special operations in the real time. During the exercise, 1100 aircrafts will be flying three-four sorties in day with cumulative sorties reaching to tcount of 3300 to 4400 in day.

The exercise will put to test logistics stamina of IAF and its ability to sustain continuous operations through day and night. Apart from wartime drills, IAF will also practice and validate various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) drills.

2016 Red Flag Aerial combat exercises conclude in US

The multilateral Red Flag Aerial combat exercises between US, NATO and allied forces and India Air Force (IAF) concluded in Alaska, US.

The four-week long (from April 28 to May 13, 2016) aerial combat exercises was held at the Nellis Air Force Base, Alaska. This was the second time India had participated in such an exercise after 2008.

Key facts

  • Objective of IAF’s participation in this inter-continental exercise was to showcase its capability in undertaking integrated air operations and gain also operational lessons.
  • In this edition, IAF flew 10 aircraft viz. 4 Su-30MKIs, 4 Jaguars and 2 IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers and a team of over 170 personnel was part of the exercise.
  • The exercise was conducted multiple simulated scenario to provide realistic settings with a Red Force, defending their airspace and assets and a Blue Force acting as offensive side.
  • Red Force was constituted by US F-16 fighters, while the IAF planes along with other USAF aircraft such as F-15, F-16 and F-22 and US Navy F-18, constituted the Blue Force.
  • The exercise also endured the sub-zero temperatures, which posed a challenge to the maintenance team to maintain 100 per cent serviceability of all platforms.

About Red Flag Air Exercises

  • The Red Flag exercise is advanced aerial combat training exercises, held periodically at the Nellis Air Force Base since 1975.
  • The exercises provide an opportunity to the pilots from the US, NATO and other allied countries to practice and refine their skills for real combat situations.
  • The real combat situations include the use of live ammunition for bombing exercises and enemy hardware within the Nellis complex.
  • India’s Participation: Due to high cost of participation, IAF takes part in the exercise once in every five year. For the first time IAF had participated in 2008, and for second time it was scheduled in 2013 but the plan was cancelled by the US following budget cuts.