Vayu Shakti 2019: Indian Air Force carries out mega exercise near Indo-Pak border
Updated : February 18, 2019 12:36 PM IST
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)