Conscious of threats from China from the Northeastern borders, India is inducting its indigenous Akash missiles in the region, even as its Air Force is preparing to meet the military challenge by holding a major war exercise there.
Ahead of deploying two squadrons of the Akash surface-to-air missiles in the region, defence minister A K Antony will induct them into the Indian Air Force (IAF) at a ceremony in Hyderabad on Saturday, a defence ministry official said.
He will also hand over TAL, an advanced indigenously developed lightweight torpedo, to the Indian Navy.
With these two inductions into the Air Force and the Navy, India would have achieved major milestones in the development of indigenous military technology.
The two weapon systems that will greatly enhance the Air Force and the Navy’s strike and air defence capabilities, have been indigenously developed and manufactured by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited, a defence public sector undertaking.
Akash and TAL were developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Meanwhile, the IAF began the major war exercise in the Northeast, in coordination with the Army, to test their day-night combat potential with the use of fighter planes including the potent Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000, MiG-29, Jaguar, MiG-21 Bison, apart from Mi-17 helicopters.
The Air Force also used its strategic special operations plane, C-130J from the American Lockheed Martin stable, besides AN-32 cargo planes, midair refuelers, and airborne early warning and control systems (AWACS) platforms. The Army brought in its remotely-piloted aircraft to the operations.
Led by the IAF’s Shillong-based Eastern Air Command, the exercise codenamed ‘Pralay’ (Apocalypse), began Feb 29, an Air Force officer said.
The exercise involves joint army-air operations by the IAF and the Indian Army’s Kolkata-based Eastern Command.
“The annual exercise is aimed at testing the combat potential of the IAF in various roles such as air defence, ground support operations, counter air operations, electronic warfare, joint operations with the Army, including special operations by day and night,” an officer said.
“It also includes conduct of Special Forces operations and night operations in conjunction with ground forces,” the officer said.
The entire spectrum of air operations by aircraft under dense air defence environment is being practiced both by day and night.
The exercise also includes facets of network centric operations, electronic warfare as well as information warfare and all technology-intensive battle manoeuvres.
Apart from war fighting in the skies, various ground contingencies related to air force operations are being tested.
“Lessons learned from this exercise would be incorporated in future operational strategies,” an Army officer said.