IAF choppers may be used for anti-insurgency operations

IAF choppers may be used for anti-insurgency operations

New Delhi, 9 September After equipping its helicopter squadrons in the east with night vision devices, the IAF is shifting its focus to units in the western region where such aircraft could be used for casualty evacuation and also come to the aid of troops in militancy-hit areas like Jammu and Kashmir.

The helicopters of the IAF, which have won laurels over casualty evacuation missions during the day in the militancy-hit state, could now be used during the night as well for transporting injured soldiers, a move that is expected to give a fillip to the morale of troops engaged in countering insurgents, official sources said.

The IAF has been proposing to the government that its assets could be used in low-intensity warfare, and making the helicopters available for night-time missions is being seen as an opportunity to work out modalities for involving air warriors in counter-insurgency operations, they said.

Helicopter gunships and fighter jets of the IAF were instrumental in breaking the backbone of the Pakistani intrusion in the Kargil sector in 1999, forcing the intruders to withdraw from strategic heights they had occupied.

The IAF was silent on the issue officially but sources in the armed forces said a proposal had been sent to the government for the use of air power in counter-insurgency operations. (More) PTI SKL RHL