IAF preparing for maritime war

April 7, 2018

With eye on the expanding footprint of Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean, Indian Air Force(IAF) is conducting an "all encompassing coordinated and composite exercise named Gaganshakti" from April 8-22.

"The aim of this exercise is real time coordination, deployment and employment of Air Power in a short and intense battle scenario," Air Force said in a statement.

In the two weeks of Gaganshakti, IAF will test concepts of accelerated operations, network centric operations, long range missions with concentrated weapon releases across all air to ground ranges in India.

To avoid Dokhlam like situation, inter valley troop transfer will be tested by IAF.

Joint operations with the other two sister services will also be part of the Gaganshakti. Joint maritime air operations will be conducted with Navy and with Army joint simulated combat search and rescue for effective extraction of downed aircrew behind enemy lines and special operations with Garuda commandos of IAF. Special operations employing transport aircraft and helicopter as well as Special Forces have been planned during the exercise.

During the exercise, mass casualty evacuation from highway would also be tested.

"It is for the first time that efficacy and integration of LCA in the operational matrix of the IAF is planned. The logistics stamina of the IAF and the ability to sustain continuous operations through day and night would be put to test," statement added.

Gaganshakti will witness the employment of combat support assets like airborne early warning aircraft, transport aircraft, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets.

The exercise has been planned according to the "Joint Operational Doctrine" and through it IAF will "validate new strategies and tactics, especially to validate recently inducted or upgraded assets and equipments."

The special focus of the exercise will be on 'Network Centric Operations', and 'Effect Based Operations'. Along with the operational tactics, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief drills will also be part of the exercise.