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IAF fighter aircraft releases bombs during
IAF fighter aircraft releases bombs during "Vayu Shakti 2019". Photo: PTI

Fighter jets, attack helicopters: Glimpses of IAF's mega exercise in Pokhran

  • The exercise came two days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack in J&K's Pulwama
  •  This was for the first time the Advanced Light Helicopter and the Akash were deployed in a military exercise

Pokhran: The Indian Air Force Saturday carried out a mega exercise here involving almost all variants of its fighter jets and attack helicopters, in a fire power demonstration near the border with Pakistan.

The exercise came two days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack in Kashmir's Pulwama by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said security forces have been given full freedom to retaliate against the attack. 

US made C-130J Hercules aircraft of IAF fires flares during 'Vayu Shakti 2019'. Photo: Reuters
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US made C-130J Hercules aircraft of IAF fires flares during 'Vayu Shakti 2019'. Photo: Reuters

In the Vayu Shakti exercise, the IAF showcased fire power capability of indigenously-developed platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and efficacy of the Akash surface-to-air missile and Astra air-to-air missile.

IAF fighter aircraft releases bombs during an 'Vayu Shakti 2019'. Photo: PTI
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IAF fighter aircraft releases bombs during an 'Vayu Shakti 2019'. Photo: PTI

Fighter jets and helicopters hit targets during day and night. It was for the first time, the ALH and the Akash were deployed in a military exercise.

IAF's airborne early warning and control system plane takes flight during 'Vayu Shakti 2019'. Photo: Reuters
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IAF's airborne early warning and control system plane takes flight during 'Vayu Shakti 2019'. Photo: Reuters

The IAF also deployed the upgraded MiG-29 fighter jet in an air-to-ground role during the exercise. A total of 137 aircraft including Su-30s, Mirage 2000s, Jaguars, Mig-21 Bison, Mig-27, Mig-29, IL78, Hercules, AN-32 aircraft participated.

An IAF fighter aircraft during an 'Vayu Shakti 2019'. Photo: PTI
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An IAF fighter aircraft during an 'Vayu Shakti 2019'. Photo: PTI

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, defence attaches of several countries and top officials of defence ministry also witnessed the exercise. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who is an honorary group captain of the IAF, was also present.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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