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Updated February 2nd, 2024 at 14:22 IST

IAF gears up for high-octane Exercise Vayu Shakti with more than 130 aircraft participating

Exercise Vayu Shakti 2024 in Rajasthan will feature a multitude of Indian Air Force aircraft, including Rafale jets and Light Combat Helicopters.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Edited by: Yuvraj Tyagi
IAF Hawk Trainer
Exercise Vayu Shakti 2024 in Rajasthan will exhibit Indian Air Force's prowess. | Image:Indian Air Force
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Rajasthan: Plethora of Indian Air Force’s frontline aircraft are set to participate in Exercise Vayu Shakti 2024. These will include Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand, ALH Dhruv, AH-64 Apache, as well as Rafale fighter jets. The exercise, which is scheduled to be conducted on February 17 in Jaisalmer, will also feature an integration effort by the tri-services.

Noteworthy is the integration effort by the tri-services, with the IAF collaborating closely with the Indian Army and Navy. Air Chief Marshal AP Singh, in a recent briefing, revealed, "We would also be airlifting Army guns in the exercise," underlining the comprehensive nature of the joint endeavor. 

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A historic legacy continues 

Dating back to 1954, Exercise Vayu Shakti stands as a testament to the IAF's commitment to enhancing its operational capabilities. This year, the focus remains on showcasing the IAF's precision bombing prowess, with the Vice Chief emphasizing the deployment of indigenous assets such as the LCA Tejas, Prachand attack helicopters, and ALH Dhruv.

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"In a span of two hours, we would be dropping around 40-50 tonnes of ordnance in a one- to two-kilometer radius," the Vice Chief revealed, underscoring the scale and intensity of the upcoming demonstrations. Notably, the exercise will witness the debut participation of Rafale fighter jets, Prachand choppers, and the Samar surface-to-air weapon system, reflecting India's evolving defense capabilities. 

A spectacle of firepower 

Vayu Shakti-2024 promises to be a grand showcase of firepower, with major fighter aircraft like the Rafale, Su-30MKIs, LCA Tejas, Mirage 2000, and MiG-29s converging to demonstrate their striking capabilities. A staggering fleet of 77 fighter planes, 41 helicopters, and five transport aircraft will partake in the exercise, illustrating the IAF's operational readiness and strategic depth.

Demonstrations will encompass Surface-to-Air, Air-to-Air, and Air-to-Ground engagements, showcasing the IAF's versatility across various combat scenarios. The exercise will culminate in a dynamic display of precision strikes, with missiles and bombs unleashed upon designated targets, further reaffirming India's defense preparedness. 

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Looking ahead: Exercise Gaganshakti 

While Vayu Shakti commands immediate attention, the IAF is already charting its course for the next major exercise, Gaganshakti. Planned for April this year, Gaganshakti will witness the mobilization of the entire IAF fleet, spanning from Ladakh to the Indian Ocean Region and from Bhuj to Arunachal Pradesh. 

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The exercise, conducted once every five years, will see an extensive deployment of fighter aircraft, transport planes, helicopters, and drones across all frontiers. Notably, the activation of the S-400 long-range air defense system on both western and northern fronts will further bolster India's defensive capabilities, ensuring a robust response to emerging threats. 

As the IAF prepares to embark on these crucial exercises, it reaffirms its commitment to safeguarding the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity, while also fostering inter-service cooperation and readiness for any eventuality on the strategic horizon. 

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Published February 2nd, 2024 at 14:22 IST

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