Gaganshakti 2018: Indian Air Force Conducts Maritime Air Operation

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New Delhi: As part of the ongoing mega combat exercise – ‘Gaganshakti-2018′, Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday conducted a battalion level airdrop on the western seaboard to check its deep strike capability in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond.

“As part of the ongoing massive IAF exercise Gaganshakti’, IAF conducted maritime air operations on the western seaboard, with the clear aim of air dominance and deep strike validation over the extended area of interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR),” the IAF said in a statement.

“In the long-range strike concept validation, the Su-30s, airborne from a base on the Eastern Coast engaged multiple targets, in the Western Sea-board, at distances in excess of 2200 Km. These aircraft then landed at a Southern Base, thus covering a total distance of 3600 Km, in a single mission,” the statement added.

Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal S B Deo visited the Sirsa air force base in Haryana to take stock of the mega exercise. Later, Mitra and Deo took a sortie in Sukhoi fighter jet.

In the drill, a fleet of Su-30 fighter jets took off from a base on the eastern coast, engaged multiple targets in the western seaboard, at distances beyond 2,500 km, and landed at a southern base, covering a total distance of 4,000 km, in a single mission, it said.

“These staggering ranges were made possible by the support of IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft, thus ensuring long-range strike capabilities for our fighter aircraft, ” the IAF said.

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