- The exercises, Gagan Shakti 2018, will take place between April 11-21
- IAF will mobilise 1100 aircraft including fighters, transports, choppers
- 15,000 troops and 300 officers are participating in the exercises
Close to 4000 sorties have been planned through the day and night across the length and breadth of the country. Simulated strike missions by IAF fighters also extend deep into the Indian Ocean.
15,000 men and 300 officers are participating in the exercises which include joint operations with the army and the navy. For the first time, the made in India Tejas light combat aircraft, which is being inducted into the IAF, will be taking part in these exercises and will be used for both air defence and ground attack missions.
Gagan Shakti 2018 will revolve around two phases. Phase 1 will see operations along the western border for which the government of Pakistan has been given prior intimation. This phase merges seamlessly into the next one along the northern border and will also see operations at high-altitude air landing grounds which have been constructed with an eye on Chinese defences on the Tibet front.
The key to the overall success of Gagan Shakti will be maintainability of the fleet or the ability of the IAF to successfully launch as many aircraft as possible, whenever they are required with minimal failure rates in between missions.
This is critical for the IAF which finds itself short on aircraft, particularly in its fighter fleet, a major deficiency it is looking to overcome through acquisition of more than 100 fighter jets for which the government today released a Request for Information (RFI) from international aerospace majors.
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