Pokhran, Feb 22: Executing its mission with honour and pride, the Indian Air Force (IAF) displayed its firepower at IRON FIST – 2013 in the august presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday.
The Indian Air Force demonstrated its operational capabilities by day, dusk and night at the sprawling facility of the Pokhran Range, the largest air -to-ground weapons firing range for training in delivery of heavy armament, near Jaisalmer, in the arid Rajasthan Sector.
Showcasing more than 30 types of platforms and Weapons Systems amounting to a participation of about 230 aircraft, this fire power display demonstrated the day and night employability of air power by frontline fighter aircraft of the IAF including – Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Hawks.
The transport aircraft included – C130J, AN-32, Embraer and IL-76, while Mi-8, Mi-17 1V, the newly inducted Mi-17 V5 and Mi-35 Attack Helicopters constituted the Rotary Wing ingredients.
The Sarang Helicopter Aerobatic Display Team and low-level aerobatics by SU-30 aircraft was the added attraction to the event.
The IAF also showcased, for the first time, its Surface to Air Missile Systems like the shoulder fired IGLA, the vehicle mounted and mobile OSA-AK M and the longer range PECHORA. The exercise also showcased its latest acquisition the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II basic trainer aircraft and Bambi Bucket Operations by Mi-17 V5 helicopter.
The events at – Iron Fist displayed various aspects of Fire Power like- Air Defence Operations, Counter Surface Force Operations, Urban Warfare, Combat Search Rescue Operations, Assault Approach and Landing, Combat Offloading and Short Take off by C-130 J at the Landing Strip prepared at the Range.
The trainee pilots displayed their armament delivery skills flying the Hawk Aircraft. Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), two of the most prestigious indigenous projects formed a part of the display.
In addition, the IAF’s Parajumping Team, Akash Ganga, IAF’s Air Warrior Drill Team, Air Warrior Symphony Orchestra also performed at event.
Aimed at providing the nation the reassurance that the IAF will deliver whenever called upon, a demonstration of this magnitude was carried out for the first time by day, dusk and night.
The exercise also aids commanders and planners to gain better insight into the potential and deployment capabilities of aerial weapons. Very few air forces in the world can achieve this feat.
IRON FIST – 2013 was conceived as a visible demonstration of not only the deterrent and joint war fighting capabilities of the IAF, but also a reaffirmation of IAF’s commitment to nation building through its more benign and non kinetic capabilities.
The President of India, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, was the chief guest at the event. It was for the first time that the Prime Minister witnessed this mega event. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)