Updated February 17th, 2024 at 22:50 IST

Rafale Debuts With Sonic Boom: Key Takeaways From IAF's Exercise Vayu Shakti 2024

The Rumble in Rajasthan kicked off with three Chetak helicopters carrying the National Flag and Air Force ensign

Reported by: Digital Desk
The IAF Chinook helicopters demonstrated their rapid deployment capabilities by airlifting Ultra-Light Howitzers for the quick destruction of ground targets. | Image:IAF
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Exercise Vayu Shakti 2024: The Pokhran range near Jaisalmer was filled with thunderous explosions on Saturday as the Indian Air Force (IAF) proved its mettle by the demonstration of its offensive capabilities during its triennial exercise ‘Vayu Shakti-24’. 

Chief of Defence Staff General Anil was also present to witness the triennial exercise, happening after five years, with Covid being a reason for that. The Rumble in Rajasthan kicked off with three Chetak helicopters carrying the National Flag and Air Force ensign, accompanied by the National Anthem playing in background.

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All You Need to Know About Exercise Vayu Shakti 2024

  1. A Rafale aircraft then executed a perfectly timed 'Sonic Boom'; interestingly, the Sonic Boom marked the Rafale's debut. 
  2. The French aircraft’s debut was followed by two Jaguar aircraft capturing high-fidelity reconnaissance images of the area. 
  3. Aligned with the exercise's theme, "Lightning Strike from the Sky," over 120 aircraft were part of the IAF's offensive capabilities during both day and night.
  4.  Various fighter aircraft, including the Rafale, Su-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Tejas, and Hawk, engaged simulated enemy targets with precision-guided munitions, conventional bombs, and rockets. 
  5. Then came the soaring poster boy of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.
  6.  The LCA displayed its swing-role capability by engaging both aerial and ground targets with missiles and bombs. 
  7. Additionally, a long-range unmanned kamikaze drone showcased its precision and accuracy by destroying a simulated enemy radar site. 
  8. This was followed by combat support operations by transport aircraft, including a Containerised Delivery System drop by a C-17 heavy-lift aircraft and an assault landing by a 30J carrying IAF Special Forces, Garuds. 
  9. The event also marked another debut, this time of a rotor copter, the Apache attack helicopters, which engaged ground targets with guided missiles, while Mi-17 helicopters targeted ground threats with rockets. 
  10. Further, an official government statement added that joint operations with the Indian Army's Advanced Light Helicopters Mk-IV showed how effective they are in combat scenarios.
  11. Then, the IAF Chinook helicopters also demonstrated their rapid deployment capabilities by airlifting Ultra-Light Howitzers for the quick destruction of ground targets. 
  12. As the sun set, special forces conducted an 'Urban Intervention,’ which is a type of anti-terror operation conducted in an urban environment, and the guards showed why they excel in them.
  13. The indigenous Air Defence Systems, Akash and SAMAR missile systems, demonstrated their capability by destroying multiple aerial targets.
  14.  Night events introduced and helped realise the capabilities of the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter 'Prachand,' which neutralised designated targets with rockets. 
  15. Additionally, Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft brought forth the strategic bombing capabilities by dropping heavy-calibre weapons.
  16. Remotely Piloted Aircraft conducted bomb damage assessments, providing real-time feedback to the operations centre. 
  17. The event also featured a free fall drop by the Akashganga team and flare dispensing by C-130J aircraft. In a spirit of jointness, a Tri-service band then went on to entertain the audience with their tunes.
  18.  Approximately 50 tonnes of ordnance were dropped within a two-hour timeframe over a two-square-kilometre area, demonstrating the IAF's offensive lethality and precision targeting capability.

 As the officials put forward, the Exercise "Vayu Shakti-24" was to put it in front of the world how ready and prepared is the IAF to defend the nation's sovereignty and uphold peace in the region.

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Published February 17th, 2024 at 21:25 IST