The Indian Air Force Saturday carried out a mega exercise at Pokhran, here involving around 140 fighter jets and attack helicopters, in a fire power demonstration close to the border with Pakistan that came two days after the Pulwama attack.
Top IAF sources said though the Vayu Shakti was planned in advance, the drill was a demonstration of the force’s capability to hit targets with “pinpoint accuracy” and carry out missions at short notice.
The IAF Chief said – “While wars are fought few and far between, we have an ever-present sub-conventional threat as the enemy knows it cannot defeat us in a conventional conflict.”
“We are showcasing our ability to hit hard, hit fast and hit with precision, hit during day, hit during night and hit under adverse weather conditions,” He added.
Fighter jets and helicopters hit targets during day and night. It was for the first time, the ALH and the Akash were deployed in a military exercise. The IAF also deployed the upgraded MiG-29 fighter jet in an air-to-ground role during the exercise. A total of 137 aircraft including Su-30s, Mirage 2000s, Jaguars, Mig-21 Bison, Mig-27, Mig-29, IL78, Hercules, AN-32 aircraft participated.
Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, defence attaches of several countries and top officials of defence ministry also witnessed the exercise. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who is an honorary group captain of the IAF, was also present.