Pokhran Current Affairs - 2019
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A mega exercise, EXERCISE VAYU SHAKTI-2019 involving 140 fighter jets and attack helicopters, in a firepower demonstration was held close to the border with Pakistan at Pokhran in Rajasthan.
Indian Airforce Strength at Display
The mega exercise, EXERCISE VAYU SHAKTI-2019 displayed the might of the Indian Airforce:
- The IAF showcased firepower capability of indigenously-developed platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and efficacy of Akash surface-to-air missile and Astra air-to-air missile.
- For the first time, the ALH and the Akash were deployed in a military exercise.
- A total of 137 aircraft including Sukhoi-30s, Mirage 2000s, Jaguars, Mig-21 Bison, Mig-27, Mig-29, IL78, Hercules and AN-32 aircraft participated in this mega exercise.
Vayu Shakti and Gagan Shakti
Vayu Shakti and Gagan Shakti are two important exercises held by Indian Airforce. Exercise Vayu Shakti demonstrtaes the IAF’s ability to strike targets on the ground such as enemy convoys and tanks, radar stations, railway yards and military headquarters. The other important dimension of air power, air-to-air combat is out into display at another exercise of IAF called Gagan Shakti.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested indigenously developed light weight glide bomb Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) dropped from an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft. Total of three tests with different release conditions and ranges were conducted at Chandan range near Pokhran in Rajasthan.
Test Details: Total of three tests with eighth round of developmental trails with different release conditions were conducted during 16 to 18 August 2018 and all the mission objectives have been achieved. During the test, weapon system was integrated with live warhead. It successfully destroyed targets with high precision.
Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW)
SAAW project is India’s first fully indigenous anti-airfield weapon project sanctioned by Government in September 2013. It was indigenously developed by state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with IAF and the Research Centre Imarat (RCI). It will be inducted soon into the Armed Forces.
SAAW is long-range lightweight high precision-guided anti-airfield weapon. It is 120 kg smart weapon capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to range of 100 km. It is designed for deep penetration with high degree of precision and is armed with high-explosive warhead, which is usually very difficult to achieve operationally with simple gravity bombs.
It is meant to deal debilitating damage to ground infrastructure such as runways, taxi ways, aircraft hangars and bunkers among other things. Depending on operational requirements, it can also be used against other ground targets to give Indian forces enhanced area-denial capabilities, like taking out ground infrastructure.
The guided bomb is considered to be one of the world-class weapons system. It is said to have higher precision and much cheaper compared with missiles. It can be integrated into varied types of multi role fighter jets of IAF such as MiG, Sukhoi Su-30 and ground attack SEPECAT Jaguar. SAAW’s deep penetration capabilities and high explosive warhead carrying capacity will enhance capability of IAF to easily hit targets across border without putting pilot and aircraft at risk.
They are critical in war-like scenarios, since they help to give debilitating blow to adversarial air forces. These high-explosive warheads are meant to cause maximum damage possible to runways and other key infrastructure, in way that prevents quick repair. If successful, attack using such bombs render airfield useless, grounding all the war planes that are based at that air field.