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IAF showed operational capability in Ladakh stand-off: Air chief

Air Chief Marshal R.K. Bhadauria inspecting the guard of honour during the 88th Airforce Day celebration in Hindon airbase on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The rapid deployment of Air Force assets to forward areas in the ongoing stand-off in eastern Ladakh and support to the Army clearly demonstrated the “resolve, operational capability and the will to effectively engage the adversary” if the need arose, said Air Chief Marshal (ACM) R.K.S. Bhadauria on Thursday.

ACM Bhadauria also presented distinguished service medal Yudh Seva Medial (YSM) to some of the personnel who took part in the Balakot air strike on February 26 last year and the aerial engagement a day later. These were announced in August last year.

88th Air force day at Hindon.

88th Air force day at Hindon.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

“I would like to commend all our air warriors for the quick response in the recent stand-off on our northern frontiers when we deployed our combat assets at short notice to handle any eventuality and provided proactive support to all the requirements of deployment and sustenance for the Army,” he said, addressing an Air Force Day parade at the Hindon airbase.

The YSM was also presented to Sq Ldr Minty Agarwal who, as flight controller, directed the IAF fighters during the aerial engagement when Pakistani fighter jets attempted to bomb Indian military installations on February 27. Wg Cdr Varthaman was awarded Vir Chakra.

The evolving matrix of threat in the region, ACM Bhadauria said, was becoming complex, ranging from “aspirational adversaries with huge investments in military arsenal, to those collusively supported by non-state actors, apart from sub-conventional threats emanating from terrorism and cyberspace.”

Rafale fighter aircraft releasing flares during the 88th Airforce Day celebration at Hindon airbase in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.

Rafale fighter aircraft releasing flares during the 88th Airforce Day celebration at Hindon airbase in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

“Disruptive technologies and easy access to low-cost options like drones are increasingly demanding greater attention to the sub-conventional domain,” he stated.

Rafale in fly-past

Making its debut in the Air Force Day parade, the recently inducted Rafale fighter jet led the ‘Vijay’ formation, accompanied by two Jaguars and two Mirage 2000 fighters. It also carried out asynchronous manoeuvres with the SU-30MKI fighter jet.

A total of 56 aircraft took part in the parade, including 19 fighters, 19 helicopters, seven transport aircraft, seven aircraft of the Suryakiran aerobatic team and two vintage ones. In addition, 19 aircraft were airborne as standby. 

For the first time, there was an ‘Eklavya’ formation consisting of Mi-35 and Ah-64 Apache attack helicopters. On the ground, 11 aircraft and two air defence systems, Rohini and Akash, were on static display.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 9:29:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/iaf-demonstrated-its-operational-capability-air-chief-marshal-bhadauria/article32800547.ece

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