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IAF to hold biggest air exercise 'Iron Fist' at Pokhran in February

The Indian Air Force will conduct its first ever day-night exercise and display its full combat capability during ‘Iron Fist’ to be held at Pokhran firing ranges here from February 22, 2013.

Work at the new air strip in Pokhran range has started and will soon be operationally ready for this mega event. IAF sourcessaid all preparations of the program has been completed.

President Pranab Mukherjee, air and defence attaches of 50 friendly countries are likely to witness the full combat power of the IAF during Iron Fist.

The pre-firing demonstration and rehearsal for the first ever day and night event was conducted in December last week. About 100 different aircraft Sukhoi 30, Mirage 2000, Jaguar, MIG 21, attack helicopters, UAV and high-tech AWACS will display their potential, an official said. The transport aircraft taking part in the exercise will include AN-32,Embraer, IL-76, IL-78 and C-130J while Mi-17V5 and Mi-35 attack helicopters will constitute the rotary wing ingredients.

The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) will be used to monitor the mammoth exercise, while an unmanned aerial vehicle will stream live video images of the targets set for destruction. The air defence activities will include firing of surface-to-air guided missiles.

Su-30 MKI Fighter JetIn addition to several aircraft participating from all IAF commands, many standby aircraft in air and an equal number on the ground will make the exercise one of the biggest air power demonstration ever. Trials of few newly acquired equipment are also likely to take place during the show to check their efficacy.

Mock radar sites, tanks, marshalling yards, terrorist camps, runway, BMP, blast pens and convoys are among the few targets that the IAF pilots will seek to destroy during the exercise. Para-drop and troop insertion of Garudas (IAF’s special force) to neutralize a mock terrorist camp will also be on display.

Such fire power demonstration will be a collective display of skills and accuracy in weapon delivery by pilots at the end of their training year. The exercise will also aid commanders and planners to attain better insight into the IAF’s potential and the deployment capabilities of aerial weapons, said defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami.

The President and supreme commander of the armed forces Pranab Mukherjee , Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva, defence minister A K Antony, state chief minister Ashok Gehlot, MoS for defence, marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh, the three service chiefs, senior MoD officials, foreign military attaches of various countries and other senior members of the Union government and the armed forces are likely to witness the fire power demonstration, an official added.



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