Gaganshakti: IAF demonstrates aerial refueling capability for long missions

ANI | Updated: Apr 14, 2018 20:13 IST

New Delhi, [India] Apr 14 (ANI): In the ongoing mega combat exercise- 'Gaganshakti-2018', Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday demonstrated its mid-air refueling capability to carry out air dominance and deep strike validation over the extended area of interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The IAF conducted maritime air operations on the Western sea board, with its frontline fighter Su-30 MKIs.

"The fighters took from an eastern air base, engaged multiple targets in the western seaboard covering a distance of more than 2500 Km. Finally, it landed at a southern air base, thus covering a total distance of 4000 Km, in a single mission," read an IAF official release.

These long rang mission was made possible by the support of IL-78 Flight refueling aircraft.

IL-78 demonstrated the importance of refueling aircraft during any long range missions, as it would ensure long range strike capabilities for the Su-30 MKI.

These joint operations were held in unison with the help of Indian Navy's Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) platform, P-8I aircraft.

The official release noted, "Exercise Gaganshakti is proving to be an ideal environment to evaluate Joint Operations with the Indian Navy, to test enablers such as AWACS and Flight Refueling Aircrafts (FRAs) in Op matrix in conjunction with Su-30 and Jaguar ac."

The exploitation of the combat support assets helps to extend the reach in the entire Indian Ocean Region (IOR), our strategic area of influence.

The scale of the exercise can be gauged from the fact that just from Air Force more than 300 officers and more than 15,000 airmen have been mobilised. Joint operations scenario with the Army and the Navy are also a part of this exercise.

The pan India synergised exercise will showcase the multi-spectrum capabilities, both offensive and defensive. The IAF will conduct all terrain operations- desert, high altitude, maritime scenarios and special operations- in the real time.

Gagan Shakti exercise will go on till April 23. (ANI)