After a gap of over 30 years, the Indian Air Force (IAF) would be deploying a homemade combat aircraft along the Pakistan border in an offensive role during the forthcoming pan-India war games ‘Exercise Gagan Shakti’ starting from April 8. The last homegrown planes, which had seen operational action, were the HF-24 Maruts 147 of which were produced by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in the 1960s and were decommissioned from the Air Force in 1985.
During the war games, the Air Force would be deploying the planes along the Pakistan border in air defence roles to prepare against any aerial offensive, government sources told MAIL TODAY. This is the first time that after getting inducted into the Air Force formally, the LCA Tejas plane is taking part in an operational role in one of the biggest war games being held by the service, they said.
The planes are likely to be deployed in the western and south-western sector of the Air Force during the exercise between the forward bases. India has several forward bases on the Pakistan border — Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir— to defend any attack from the Pakistan side, the sources said.
The Gaganshakti exercise is a pan-India war game conducted by the Air Force across its operational commands where the response of the force is checked to the threats faced by it on different fronts.
During this exercise, several hundred combat planes— including the Su-30MKI, Mirage- 2000, Jaguars and MiG 29s— would take part and hundreds of missions would be flown with impeccable planning and execution.
The exercise will be based on a scenario that included rapid deployment across the country at all operational Air Force bases. Meanwhile, defence experts feel that the decision to procure the Tejas will reduce the dependence on imports. The IAF has already placed orders for 40 Tejas Mk-1 and 83 Tejas Mk-1A ,and has committed to buy 201 Tejas Mk-2 in future .
By : Daily Mail