National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 17 April 2018
During both phases of Ex Gagan Shakti, the IAF is effectively exercising its Maritime war fighting concepts on both the Western and Eastern seaboards. Air Dominance, over the entire extended area of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in support of the Indian Navy (IN) is being demonstrated by employment of combat enablers like the FRA (Flight Refueling Aircraft) in conjunction with our maritime fighter forces of the Su-30 and Jaguar class carrying potent long distance anti shipping weaponry.
Missions have been flown in the initial phase to address both near and in depth targets over the Western Sea Board utilising Su-30 and Jaguar fighter aircraft equipped with the potent Brahmos and Harpoon Anti ship missiles respectively.
The Su-30 ac has also showcased its strategic reach by operating from the eastern most air bases on the peninsula and engaging maritime targets well out into the western seaboard with support of AAR. After quick repositioning of Maritime Assets the focus has now shifted in Phase–II to addressing targets over the Eastern Sea Board right upto the Mallaca Straits.
The full compliment of Maritime Assets would now operate from bases in the Southern peninsula and Andaman & Nicobar islands. Extensive missions would be flown by the Su-30 and Jaguar in conjunction with the IN P-8i MR ac using long range weapons to refine and practice offensive and defensive tactics against maritime targets.
Such demonstrations of extended reach utilizing potent standoff weapons in Joint coordinated Operations with the IN has adequately show cased the IAF ability to support the IN in order to dominate the IOR and effectively address any misadventure by an adversary in our area of interest.
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Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.