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Vayu Shakti 2019: Indian Air Force carries out mega exercise near Indo-Pak border

Updated : 2019-02-18 12:36:41

The Indian Air Force Saturday carried out a mega exercise here involving around 140 fighter jets and attack helicopters, in a firepower demonstration close to the border with Pakistan that came two days after the Pulwama attack.

As India's military establishment mulls options to avenge the strike by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said the IAF was prepared to deliver "appropriate response" as assigned by India's political leadership.

"I wish to assure the nation of the IAF's capability and commitment in meeting national security challenges and defending the sovereignty of our country," he said.

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.

40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack in Kashmir's Pulwama district by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said security forces have been given full freedom to retaliate against the attack. India has also said it will ensure "complete isolation" of Pakistan internationally for its support to terror groups.

In the Vayu Shakti exercise, 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.

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. (Source: PTI)

Image Source: AP/Reuters

An Indian air force chopper participates in an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An Indian air force chopper participates in an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Smoke rises from an explosion during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. The IAF carried out an exercise near the border with Pakistan, showcasing indigenously-developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), the Akash surface-to-air missile and Astra air-to-air missile, among others. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Smoke rises from an explosion during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. The IAF carried out an exercise near the border with Pakistan, showcasing indigenously-developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), the Akash surface-to-air missile and Astra air-to-air missile, among others. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An Indian Air Force (IAF) airborne early warning AWACS plane flies during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An Indian Air Force (IAF) airborne early warning AWACS plane flies during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An Indian Air Force (IAF) MIG 29 releases bombs during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An Indian Air Force (IAF) MIG 29 releases bombs during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Indian Air Force (IAF) commandoes participate in an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Indian Air Force (IAF) commandoes participate in an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An M-17 douses fire during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An M-17 douses fire during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An Indian Air Force C-30J dispenses flares during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An Indian Air Force C-30J dispenses flares during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An M-17 douses fire during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An M-17 douses fire during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An Indian Air Force aircraft dispenses flares during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An Indian Air Force aircraft dispenses flares during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
A simulated target is blown during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
A simulated target is blown during an air exercise named 'Vayu Shakti-2019', or air power, at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, Saturday, February 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
A cloud of smoke rises as an Indian Air Force (IAF) paratrooper lands during
A cloud of smoke rises as an Indian Air Force (IAF) paratrooper lands during "Vayu Shakti", or Air Power exercise in Pokhran, Rajasthan state, India, February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave
An Indian Air Force (IAF) Garud Commando performs during
An Indian Air Force (IAF) Garud Commando performs during "Vayu Shakti", or Air Power exercise in Pokhran, Rajasthan state, India, February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave
Soldiers disembark a US-made C-130J Hercules aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) as they perform during
Soldiers disembark a US-made C-130J Hercules aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) as they perform during "Vayu Shakti", or Air Power exercise in Pokhran, Rajasthan state, India, February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave
Indian Air Force (IAF)'s light combat aircraft
Indian Air Force (IAF)'s light combat aircraft "Tejas" fires a missile during "Vayu Shakti", or Air Power exercise in Pokhran, Rajasthan state, India, February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave
Indian Air Force (IAF)'s Embraer EMB-145AEW airborne early warning and control system (AEWACS) plane takes flight during
Indian Air Force (IAF)'s Embraer EMB-145AEW airborne early warning and control system (AEWACS) plane takes flight during "Vayu Shakti", or Air Power exercise in Pokhran, Rajasthan state, India, February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave
A US-made C-130J Hercules aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fires flares during
A US-made C-130J Hercules aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fires flares during "Vayu Shakti", or Air Power exercise in Pokhran, Rajasthan state, India, February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave
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