The Indian Air Force carried out massive pan India Exercise Gagan Shakti-2018 from 08-22 Apr 2018.
IAF sources explained that the aim of the exercise was real-time coordination, deployment and employment of air power in a short and intense battle scenario.
It is also said that the for an exercise of such scale, the planning process started almost nine months back.
It has already been made clear that the exercises were conducted in two phases so that all Commands get adequate opportunity to test the efficacy of their preparedness.
During the mission, fighter aircraft undertook surge operations,that is, generating maximum number of sorties in a 24 hours cycle.
Many of these included long-range missions across all air to ground ranges in India also focused on creation of Air Defence umbrella to facilitate operation of ground forces.
What is also unique about this exercise is that efficacy and integration of indigenous LCA aircraft and Akash Missile system in the operational matrix of the IAF were also checked out.
Ships were deployed, both in the Arabian Sea as well as in the Bay of Bengal, for anti-shipping strikes by IAF maritime aircraft operating from bases on the east and west coast, as well as from island territories.
It is now said that during the exercise itself, more than 11000 sorties were flown, which include approx 9000 sorties by fighter aircraft.
All operations were conducted in a Network Enabled scenario with a very high reliability of communications, networked air defence systems employing op enabling software.
A major highlight of the exercise was a very high availability and reliability of all combat assets including aircraft, missile systems and radars.
IAF was able to achieve 80 per cent serviceability of aircraft while radars and surface to air guided weapons maintained a serviceability of 97 per cent, which included some of the legacy systems that were over 40 years old.
Activities were undertaken in a cohesive manner to achieve the stated objectives of the Indian Air Force, in case of any contingency. The exercise also enabled the IAF to validate operational efficacy of new platforms and refine existing Standard Operating Procedures.
Joint operations with Army and Navy, conducted during the exercise, would help in achieving better operational synergy between the three services, in application of combat power.>