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IAF to hold mammoth air exercise this week

February 16, 2009 19:23 IST

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To validate the concept of flexi-use of airspace to fight battles and to secure the peninsular skies including the coastal belt, the Indian Air Force is all set to carry out the second edition of its mammoth exercise Dakshin Prahar from February 18.

The week-long unique operational exercise under the Southern Air Command assumes significance in the wake of the Aero-India show held in Bangalore last week and will reflect the IAF's ability to sustain operations for a prolonged period of time.

The SAC would deploy its state-of-the-art fighter aircraft such as Su-30MKI, Mirage-2000 and upgraded versions of maritime Jaguar in order to cover its vast area of responsibility including the peninsular region and offshore installations on the east coast and, Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands in the south-west.

"All the combat aircraft have capability for air-to-air refuelling by the IL- 78 tankers which are strategically positioned to increase the reach of fighters to go around the peninsula without refuelling," an IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi [Images].

The transport aircrafts An-32s and Avro, and Mi-8 helicopters would provide vital support and perform communication duties during the exercise.

"The aircrafts would practice modern tactics in carefully crafted corridor in coordination with the Airport Authority of India so that civil and military air operations can be conducted smoothly and simultaneously," the IAF spokesperson said.

The SAC air officer commanding-in-chief, Air Marshal S Radhakrishnan said, "The air exercises of this nature not only increases the operational preparedness of the IAF but also strengthens the process of coordination between the AAI and the IAF for handling and eventuality requiring use of combat air power at short notice."

Earlier, whenever major operational exercises were held by the IAF, tight restrictions were placed on the use of the airspace. Such restrictions would have caused severe disruption in day-to-day air traffic in the booming civil aviation sector.

Last year, when the exercise was conducted for the first time, SAC and AAI displayed exemplary coordination with interaction at every level, joint-manship from the planning stage and successfully executed an intricate exercise.

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