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Gagan Shakti 2018: IAF, Army carry out airborne assault

In a joint operation, the Indian Air Force and Indian Army Parachute Brigade carried out a battalion-level airborne assault in the desert sector on Saturday night

jaipur Updated: Apr 15, 2018 21:16 IST
HT Correspondent
Indian Air Force and Indian Army Parachute Brigade carry out a battalion-level airborne assault.
Indian Air Force and Indian Army Parachute Brigade carry out a battalion-level airborne assault.(HT Photo)

In a joint operation, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army Parachute Brigade carried out a battalion-level airborne assault in the desert sector on Saturday night.

The assault, part of the ongoing IAF exercise ‘Gagan Shakti-2018’, included paradrop of 560 paratroopers, combat vehicles and GPS guided cargo platforms.

“The landing force was dropped behind the simulated enemy lines to soften up the likely resistance to our own armoured offensive,” said Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Ojha.

The airborne force comprised six Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules and seven Antonov An-32 aircraft launched from multiple IAF bases. The force was provided aerial surveillance by airborne warning and control system (AWACS) and protected by a flight of Sukhoi Su-30 air superiority fighters.

Ojha said airborne operations are a means of aerial insertion of troops, equipment or supplies directly into the battle zone. “Airborne operations are high-risk operations which are based on accurate intelligence, dynamic air dominance by own forces and criticality of requirement by ground forces,” he added.

Airborne assault is a subset of airborne operations wherein combat troops and equipment are paradropped into the tactical battle area.

“These troops have specific tasks like disrupting enemy lines of communication, capture or destruction of critical enemy infrastructure,” said Ojha, adding that, “the accuracy and outcome of the mission highlights IAF’s multi spectral capabilities and its efficiency in providing timely support to ground forces.”

On Wednesday, the IAF had showcased its precision in strike capabilities during day and night. More than 11 light combat aircraft (LCA) were engaged in the first phase of the exercise. The IAF has consistently encouraged the development of indigenous defence production capability, Ojha had said.

During Gagan Shakti-18, the IAF has formalised the concept of a forward surgical centre (FSC). FSC is set up at a remote forward location in the IAF with the aim of enhancing the medical capabilities at a forward base which is located away from a service hospital. The establishment of FSC at a forward base enables immediate life and limb saving surgery and stabilisation of the patient.