Considered to be one of the largest-of-its-kind combat exercises ever conducted by the Indian Air Force, the Gangan Shakti 2018 air exercise showcased its entire fleet strength across the nation – aiming to exhibit its might and presence in the air combat sector.

During the two-week long air training exercise conducted by the Indian Air Force, the Gagan Shakti 2018 even aims to exhibit its might and combat preparedness. The entire Air Force fleet including – more than 1100 aircrafts – half of which are fighter jets – have been showcased and logged a total of 6,000 flight hours in three days of the Gagan Shakti 2018 exercise. The huge showbiz is considered to be the largest-of-its-kind combat exercise conducted by the Indian Air Force in last three decades – aiming to show IAF’s readiness and stamina for the two-front neighbours – China and Pakistan.

In the Gagan Shakti 2018 event, the western sector of the IAF moved to the eastern front in less than 48 hours and all training activities in the force will remain suspended till the two-phase drill ends on April 22. It is usually wartimes when military wings of any country shelves such training activities – but for India, it is about showcasing its combat prowess, especially to the neighbouring rivals. The entire event is shaped by joint coordination in air support, network-centric warfare, attack, counter attack and other parts of air force warfare.

But since it was a showbiz for the rivals, the main focus was given to expertise on air to air counter attack and air to ground attack. If we talk about the highlight aircraft of the show, it is the maiden light combat aircraft Tejas which had only been a technology demonstrator so far but was recently inducted in the IAF – and the Gagan Shakti was its first participation. Tejas is one of the most advanced modern aircrafts of the IAF with its operational capabilities like being able to fire close combats and even beyond visual range missiles. Commenting about the show, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Tony Dhanoa said that watching the operation is like “shaking the heavens and splitting the Earth.”

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