In A First, Tejas Takes Part In ‘Gagan Shakti’
JAISALMER: Indian Air Force’s (IAF) war exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’ involving its entire fleet strength all across its bases in the country is progressing well. Firing range at Pokhran is booming with the day and night bombing.
Light combat aircraft Tejas, which had so far been only a technology demonstrator and was recently inducted into IAF, has now for the first time participated in enhancing its operational capability, firing close combat and beyond visual range missiles it has amply demonstrated its power to pack the enemy. Even after its induction, Tejas is undergoing constant improvements as the IAF which accepted Tejas Mark 1 into its fold looks up eagerly for improved version in form of Tejas Mark 1A and subsequently Tejas Mark II.
Official Source said, air support, network centric warfare, attack, counter attack and other parts of air force in joint coordination is giving shape to the exercise. Maximum focus is to expertise on air to air counter attack and air to ground attack. In this war game indigenous fighter jet Tejas is taking part for the first time. Although, complete squadron of Tejas is showing its talent. Apart from this, Sukhoi-30, Mig-21, Mig-27, Jagauar, Hawk and mirage and such fighter planes are taking part. Big transportation plane c-17 globe master, c-130 super Hercules and attack helicopter Mi-35, Mi-17V, Mi-17, ALH Dhruv and ACH are also taking part.
Airforce official said “Meanwhile Tejas is taking part first time in the exercise. This exercise is also unique as LCA our indigenous fighters are being deployed at forward bases. During the first phase of the exercise, today all the deployed LCA aircraft had participated. The operational efficiency and mission worthiness of these platforms would be put to test in a real time intense exercise environment. A milestone towards ‘Make in India’, LCA will employ Close Combat and Beyond Visual Range Air to Air missiles in a simulated scenario apart from Air to Ground weapons.
The IAF has consistently encouraged the development of indigenous defence production capability and capacities. A look at the past demonstrates the IAF’s participation and promotion of indigenisation programs.