ANI Photo | IAF Exercise Vayu Shakti-24: Airforce showcases formidable display of firepower at Pokhran

The Indian Air Force (IAF) showcased its offensive capabilities through an enthralling and formidable display of its firepower as it conducted “Exercise Vayu Shakti-24” at the Pokhran air-to-ground range near Jaisalmer on Saturday, said an official release.
According to an official release from the Ministry of Defence, “Pokhran Range near Jaisalmer reverberated with thunderous explosions and applause on February 17 as the Indian Air Force showcased its offensive capabilities through an enthralling and formidable display of its firepower.”
In keeping with this year’s theme of the exercise, ‘Lightning Strike from the Sky’, over 120 aircraft displayed the lAF’s offensive capabilities by day as well as by night.
As per the official release, the event began with three Chetak helicopters trooping the National Flag and the Air Force ensign, flying past the grandstand with the National Anthem playing in the background.
This was followed by a perfectly timed ‘Sonic Boom’ created by a Rafale aircraft. Two Jaguar aircraft flying at low levels followed the Rafale, taking high fidelity reconnaissance images of the area.
Fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force, including the Rafale, Su-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Tejas and Hawk, attacked and destroyed simulated enemy targets on the ground and in the air with deadly precision.
These attacks were delivered in multiple modes and directions, employing a variety of precision-guided munitions as well as conventional bombs and rockets.
Upholding the lAF’s firm commitment to ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’, the indigenously built Tejas aircraft showcased its swing-role capability and destroyed an aerial target with a missile, followed by the engagement of a ground target with bombs.
Keeping up with the technological advancements in the combat domain and the lessons learned from recent conflicts, the lAF also displayed a long-range unmanned drone, which destroyed a simulated enemy radar site, with pinpoint accuracy.
An IAF Rafale also successfully engaged an aerial target with a beyond visual range air-to-air missile.
Combat support operations by transport aircraft included a Containerised Delivery System drop by a C-17 heavy-lift aircraft and an assault landing by a C-130J carrying IAF Special Forces, Garuds.
The Apache attack helicopter demonstrated its firepower in this event for the first time, by engaging targets with air-to-ground guided missiles, while Mi-17 helicopters engaged ground targets with rockets.
Joint operations included the IAF and Indian Army’s weaponized version of the Advanced Light Helicopters Mk-IV, which devastatingly simulated enemy targets using their rockets and swivel guns.
As another first, IAF Chinook helicopters demonstrated rapid deployment of combat assets by airlifting the Indian Army’s M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers in an underslung mode, enabling prompt destruction of simulated enemy targets on the ground.
As the sun set on the horizon, Garuds inserted by Mi-17 helicopters carried out an ‘Urban Intervention’, demonstrating their prowess in anti-terror/insurgency operations aimed at clearing hideouts of inimical elements.
The indigenous Air Defence Systems, Akash and SAMAR missile systems were also showcased, destroying multiple aerial targets.
Night events displayed for the first time the capabilities of the indigenous light combat helicopter ‘Prachand’, wherein it neutralised a designated target with rockets. This was followed by a Jaguar and Su-30 MKI dropping heavy calibre and area weapons at night, showcasing the strategic bombing capability of the lAF.
Remotely piloted aircraft carried out the bomb damage assessment of all targets, which was live streamed to the operations centre and to the audience.The event also included a free fall drop by the Akashganga team and flare dispensing by the C-130J by night.
In the spirit of jointness, a tri-service band enthralled the audience with their tunes.During the display, approximately 50 tonnes of ordnance were dropped in a short span of two hours over an area of two square kilometres.
The event truly showcased the IAF’s offensive lethality and precision targeting capability

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