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The Indian Air Force (IAF) has conducted its first day-night exercise, code-named Iron Fist 2013, in an effort to display its operational and precision fire power capabilities at the Pokhran test range facility in Rajasthan, India.

Involving participation from around 230 aircraft, the exercise was used to demonstrate day, dusk and night employability of aerial weapons by the IAF’s front-line fighter aircraft, in addition to highlighting their ability to conduct seamless network-centric operations with the army and navy.

The exercise featured displays of various fire power aspects, such as air defence operations, counter surface force operations, urban warfare, combat search rescue operations, assault approach and landing, combat offloading and a short take off by a C-130J Hercules transport aircraft.

Participating fighter aircraft included Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Hawk trainers, whereas the C130J, AN-32, Embraer Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) and IL-76 Candid constitute the transport aircraft elements.

"Involving around 230 aircraft, the exercise was used to demonstrate day, dusk and night employability of aerial weapons."

The Mil Mi-8, Mi-17 1V, along with the recently inducted Mi-17 V5 and Mi-35 attack helicopters represent the rotary-wing elements of the exercise, which provides a detailed insight into the service’s level of modernisation.

NSG commandos conducted mock radar sites, tanks marshalling yards and terrorist camps and runway destruction and rescue operations during the exercise, which also featured aerobatics and target bombing by indigenously manufactured Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

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The air force is also displaying its surface to air missile systems, including the 9K38 Igla Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS), vehicle-mounted 9K33M3 Osa-AKM and the S-123M Pechora long-range missiles.

The Pilatus PC-7 Mk II basic trainer aircraft and Bambi Bucket Operations by Mi-17 V5 helicopters were also showcased during Iron Fist 2013.

Image: The Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKI combat fighter in-flight. Photo courtesy of g4sp.

Defence Technology