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IAF gears up for power demo exercise of 'Vayu Shakti' in Pokhran

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Su-30MKI unloads sixteen FAB-100s in the IAF fire power display at Vayu Shakti 2004. A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Air Force (IAF) is gearing up for a day-and-night fire power blitzkrieg using its potent fighter jets including Sukhois for two days from February 24 in Pokhran after a gap of four years.

The high-voltage exercise 'Vayu Shakti' will showcase massive bombing, aerial dog fight and day-night air drop of commandos in Thar desert in Rajasthan to the nation's top political leaders, foreign dignitaries and military observers.

The large scale exercise would witness operations by 70 top-notch fighters such as Su-30MKI air superiority, Jaguar, Mirage-2000, MiG-29, MiG-27 and MiG-21, which are already on alert for the exercise at several air bases north of Vindhyas.

Being the fourth largest air force in the world after US, Russia and China, IAF would deploy Mi-35 attack helicopters, Mi-17 medium lift helicopters, IL-76 heavy lift and AN-32 medium lift transport plane for the day-and-night air drop for specialised operations, IAF officers said here on Tuesday.

"This year's Vayu Shakti is a major exercise, coming as it does after a gap of few years. It will demonstrate fire power and lift capabilities of the IAF during day-and-night operations. It will send a message that we have the required military capabilities to defend our geo-strategic interests," they said.

The idea of the exercise is to project the IAF's objectives in its present avatar, as spelt out by Air Chief Marshal P V Naik: "To see first and farthest, to reach first and furthest and to hit hard and accurately.

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