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Indian Air Force (IAF) Conducted ‘Exercise Vayu Shakti-24’

Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted ‘Exercise Vayu Shakti-24’ at the Pokhran range near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, presenting a formidable display of its aerial firepower. The event, attended by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Anil Chauhan, marked a significant demonstration of the IAF’s offensive capabilities through a series of meticulously planned aerial manoeuvres and precision strikes.

Grand Opening

The exercise commenced with a patriotic flair, featuring three Chetak helicopters parading the National Flag and the Air Force ensign against the backdrop of the National Anthem. This was dramatically followed by a Rafale aircraft creating a ‘Sonic Boom’, symbolizing the IAF’s swift and potent strike capability.

Theme and Demonstrations

Adhering to this year’s theme, ‘Lightning Strike from the Sky’, the exercise involved over 120 aircraft showcasing the IAF’s day and night offensive prowess. A variety of fighter aircraft including the Rafale, Su-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Tejas, and Hawk participated, executing precision attacks on simulated enemy targets using an array of Precision Guided Munitions and conventional ordnance.

Indigenous Pride and Technological Advancements

A significant highlight was the indigenous Tejas aircraft demonstrating its swing-role capability by engaging both aerial and ground targets with missiles and bombs, reinforcing the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ initiative. Furthermore, the exercise included the deployment of a long-range unmanned drone, emphasizing the IAF’s adaptation to contemporary warfare technologies.

Combat Support and Joint Operations

The exercise also featured combat support operations, including a Containerised Delivery System drop by a C-17 aircraft and an assault landing by a C-130J. The Apache helicopters, making their debut in the event, demonstrated lethal firepower along with Mi-17 helicopters engaging ground targets. The exercise illustrated joint operations with the Indian Army, showcasing weaponized Advanced Light Helicopters and rapid deployment of M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers by Chinook helicopters.

Night Operations and Urban Intervention

As dusk fell, the exercise transitioned to night operations, introducing the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter ‘Prachand’ and strategic bombing capabilities through Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft. An urban intervention drill by Garuds highlighted anti-terror/insurgency tactics, while indigenous Air Defence Systems like Akash and SAMAR missile systems engaged aerial targets.

Ordnance and Audience Engagement

Throughout the event, approximately 50 tonnes of ordnance were deployed, showcasing the IAF’s lethal efficiency. The audience, both on-site and remote, was engaged through live streaming of bomb damage assessments, enhancing transparency and demonstrating operational capabilities.

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