IAF to field frontline planes in day-night firepower display
New Delhi, Feb 18 : The Indian Air Force (IAF) will conduct its largest "day-dusk-night" firepower demonstration in the the Rajasthan desert on Friday that will feature frontline planes and mark the debut of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) at the event.
Exercise "Iron Fist" at the Pokhran ranges will see the participation of 230 aircraft, incluidng the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and the Hawk advanced jsset trainer (AJT).
Also seen will be the C130J Super Hercules and AN-32 transports, the Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium-lift helicopters and the Mi-35 attack helicopters.
"A demonstration of this magnitude is being carried out for the first time by day, dusk and night. Very few air forces in the world can achieve this feat," IAF spokesman Wing Commander Gerard Galway told IANS.
"This firepower demonstration, aptly called 'Iron Fist', is aimed at showcasing the operational strength of Indian Air Force by demonstrating its wide array of combat weaponry and assuring the nation that the safety of its sovereign skies lie in very capable hands," he added.
Galway said the demonstration would highlight the IAF's capability to operate in a network-centric environment round the clock, emphasizing the lethality and precision of its air and ground based weapon systems as well as its special forces.
The IAF would showcase its surface-to-air missile systems for the first time and its latest acquisition - the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II trainer - as also the indigenously developed Rudra light combat helicopter (LCH).
The exercise will showcase more than 30 types of platforms and weapon systems tasked for air defence operations, countering surface operations, urban warfare and combat search rescue operations.
Galway said the exercise will enable commanders and planners gain better insights into the potential and deployment capabilities of aerial weapons.
The exercise will also see participation of the IAF's Akash Ganga parajumping team, the Air Warrior's Drill Team and Air Warrior's Symphony Orchestra.