For the first time ever, the Indian Air Force will showcase its prowess and capability of precision strikes during day, dusk and night at the fire power demonstration (FPD) at the Pokhran ranges in Rajasthan on February 28.
To be witnessed by the President Pratibha Patil, the demonstration codenamed ‘Vayu Shakti – 2010’, will be a collective display of skills and accuracy in weapons delivery by pilots at the end of their training year. It also aids commanders and planners to gain better insight into the potential and development capabilities of aerial weapons.
While the display that includes participation of 100 aircraft comes close on the heels of scheduled talks of Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan this week, the IAF Chief P.V. Naik said there is no link between the two event as the Air Force planned this demonstration much ahead of the talks.
“Do not link [or attribute] any motives. Our demonstration is intended to tell the people of our country, the capability of the IAF, its skills and strategic reach to protect the skies and national interest,’’ the Air Chief said in response to a question whether Vayu Shakti was intended for Pakistan. The IAF is fast-emerging as a strategic aerospace power, he added.
The FPD will demonstrate the day and night employability of air power by frontline fighter aircrafts of the IAF including the Sukhoi-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, Mig-21 and Mig-29. The transport aircrafts include the AN-32, Embraer and Il-76 while Mi-17 IV and Mi-35 attack helicopters will constitute the rotary wing ingredients.
For the fist time AWACS will be used to monitor the mammoth exercise while an unmanned aerial vehicle will stream live video images of the target destruction. In addition to 70 aircraft participating, there will be 30 standby aircraft in air and an equal number on ground.
For the FPD, mock radar sites, tanks, marshalling yards, terrorist camps, runway, BMP infantry fighting vehicles, blast pens and convoys are among a few of the targets that pilots will seek to destroy. Para-drop and troop insertion of Garud, the IAF’s special forces to neutralise a terrorist camp will also be on display.
The exercise will also display jointness of the tri-services with the Army’s Special Forces and Navy’s Marine Commandos taking part. The Air Chief said the IAF is holding the APD after six years. The IAF is awaiting clearance from the government to extend an invitation to the Defence Attaches of various countries including Pakistan.