The Indian Air Force will on Wednesday commence a mammoth week-long air exercise 'Dakshin Prahar' in the southern peninsula to validate the concept of "flexi-use of air space" and to showcase its ability to sustain operations for a prolonged period of time.
"The IAF is all set to carry out the second edition of exercise Dakshin Prahar to validate the concept of flexi-use of airspace. The week-long annual exercise will start from February 18 under the aegis of the Southern Air Command (SAC)," a senior IAF official said in New Delhi.
Frontline aircraft of the IAF such as the Sukhoi 30-MKI, Mirage 2000 and upgraded versions of maritime Jaguar will take part in the exercise.
"The exercise will cover the vast area of responsibility of the SAC that extends far and wide covering not only the peninsular airspace, but also the offshore installations on the east coast and Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands in the south west," the official said.
All the combat aircrafts are capable of air-to-air refuelling by the IL-78s, which are strategically positioned to increase the reach of fighters to go around the vast peninsular region without refuelling. Vital transport support and communication duties during the exercise would be performed by AN-32s, Avro aircraft and Mi-8 helicopters.
The aircraft would practise modern tactics in carefully crafted corridors in coordination with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) so that civil and military air operations can be conducted smoothly and simultaneously thus "validating the concept of flexi-use of air space", the official added.
"An air exercise of this nature not only increases the operational preparedness of the IAF but also strengthens the process of coordination between the AAI and the IAF for handling any eventuality requiring use of combat air power at short notice," said Southern Air Command chief Air Marshal S Radhakrishnan.
The IAF has just concluded the seventh edition of the international air show at Bangalore in Karnataka, the largest such event in Asia.
"The exercise is significant in the wake of the successful conduct of Aero India 2009 held in Bangalore and reflects the ability of the IAF to sustain operations for a prolonged period of time," the official said.
Dakshin Prahar is part of a series of exercises conducted by the armed forces after the Mumbai terror attack November 26 last year to maintain their operational preparedness. Prior to this the army, navy and air force had conducted two major amphibious exercise 'Triveni' and 'Tropex'.