The Indian Air Force is gearing up for a day-and-night fire power blitzkrieg using its potent fighter jets including Sukhois for two days from February 24 in Pokhran after a gap of four years.
The high-voltage exercise 'Vayu Shakti' will showcase massive bombing, aerial dogfight and day-night air drop of commandos in Thar desert in Rajasthan [ Images ] to the nation's top political leaders, foreign dignitaries and military observers.
The largescale exercise would witness operations by 70 top-notch fighters such as Su-30MKI air superiority, Jaguar, Mirage-2000, MiG-29, MiG-27 and MiG-21, which are already on alert for the exercise at several air bases north of Vindhyas.
Being the fourth largest air force in the world after United States, Russia [ Images ] and China, IAF would deploy Mi-35 attack helicopters, Mi-17 medium lift helicopters, IL-76 heavy lift and AN-32 medium lift transport plane for the day-and-night air drop for specialised operations, IAF officers said in New Delhi [ Images ] on Tuesday.
"This year's Vayu Shakti is a major exercise, coming as it does after a gap of few years. It will demonstrate fire power and lift capabilities of the IAF during day-and-night operations. It will send a message that we have the required military capabilities to defend our geo-strategic interests," they said.
The idea of the exercise is to project the IAF's objectives in its present avatar, as spelt out by Air Chief Marshal P V Naik: "To see first and farthest, to reach first and furthest and to hit hard and accurately."
Image: Indian Air Force MIG 27 fighter jets take part in 'Vayu Shakti 2004' in Pokharan
Photograph: Kamal Kishore / Reuters