New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, the supreme commander of India’s armed forces, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will witness the firepower of the Indian Air Force on Friday as 181 aircraft showcase their capability to fight a war at the Pokharan firing range in Rajasthan, a state bordering Pakistan.
The exercise will show India’s capacity to “deter aggression”, the IAF said. A major highlight of the exercise will be the display of the IAF’s capability to operate day and night as a significant achievement for the force which did not have this ability last time India got into an armed conflict with Pakistan at Kargil.
The exercise will include combat manoeuvres and live firing of air-to-ground and air-to-air precision weapons by fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters.
Tejas, the indigenous fighter jet that won global appreciation at the recent Bahrain air show, will for the first time display its firing capabilities.
Also on public display for the first time will be the Astra air-to-air missile, being developed by DRDO, and the Akash missile.
The event titled “Iron Fist 2016” will see the participation of 181 aircraft, 103 of which are fighter planes. The demonstrations include firing of lethal ordnance, combat and combat support demonstrations.
The last Iron Fist held in 2013 was the IAF’s first day-night exercise, and more than 100 aircraft and 30 different weapon platforms were showcased. The exercise is aimed at displaying network-centric operations capabilities of the IAF.