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Saif-ai landing for IAF jets in Akhilesh Yadav’s village

The Indian Air Force’s Gagan Shakti 2018 exercise aims to exhibit its might and combat preparedness through a two-week long drill involving its entire fleet strength across the country,

lucknow Updated: Apr 18, 2018 13:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Saifai
Indian Air Force,Gagan Shakti 2018,War games
AN IAF fighter plane takes part in a maritime air operation on the Western sea board in Gagan Shakti 2018.(PTI)

Saifai, the ancestral village of Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and party chief Akhilesh Yadav, had a tryst with Gagan Shakti-2018, with two Hawk aircraft landing at the town’s airstrip Tuesday morning as part of the Indian Air Force’s biggest exercise in the last three decades.

The two-week long training exercise involving the IAF’s entire fleet strength across all its bases in the country, began on April 8.

This is not the first time the IAF has used the Saifai airstrip for landing its fighter jets. Before this on May 16, 2015 the IAF tested the airstrip to see if could be used for emergency landings. It had landed two Mirage 2000 jets at the time.

In this undated photo provided by the Air Force, soldiers board a C-130J plane during the ongoing IAF exercise ‘Gagan Shakti-2018’. (PTI)
As part of the ongoing massive IAF exercise ‘Gagan Shakti-2018’, the Indian Air Force conducted a Mass Casualty Air Evacuation Drill in the Northern sector. (PTI)

Akhilesh Yadav tweeted about the Tuesday morning landing and said: “While the UP government’s ‘defence corridor’ plan is still a castle in the air, the Saifai airstrip that we made could come in handy for the IAF for the air exercise.”

Since 2015, the IAF used Saifai airstrip, the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, and the Yamuna Expressway five times for landing its fighter jets. It also used the Agra-Lucknow Expressway once for landing its transport planes.

Gagan Shakti is a biennial full-preparedness drill to test operating procedures and doctrines of the IAF. It also doubles up as a training platform for a multi-front war.

First Published: Apr 18, 2018 12:58 IST