Rajasthan’s Pokhran firing range has witnessed the IAF’s day-night exercise ” Iron First ” demonstrating its combat and fire power on Friday in the presence of Hon’ble President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
The event comprised six packages depicting six themes in which more than 180 aircraft, including fighters, transport and helicopters participated.
The primary objective of this exercise is to reassure the nation about our commitment and capabilities in safeguarding our national interests, Said Air chief Marshal Arup Raha on his inaugural speech . The Air Chief said that the IAF moves ahead on its transformation path despite certain constraints, maintaining a high combat potential for meeting challenges.
The great journey of the IAF over eight decades was summed up by means of this package, with the aircraft of yesteryear flying wing to wing along with the latest acquisitions of the Indian Air Force. A MiG-27 aircraft heralded the commencement of the flypast by towing the Ex “Iron Fist” banner, which was followed by Supersonic run by the MiG-29 aircraft. The “real time recce” capability of the IAF was displayed by a Jaguar aircraft. Vintage aircraft flypast by “Tigermoth” evoked the memories of the birth of military aviation in India and was followed by the Pilatus, the latest trainer aircraft of the IAF. The fly past by a mixed formation comprising a MiG-21 Bison, MiG-27 Upgrade, MiG-29 and the mighty Su-30, showcased the transformation of the IAF over the decades.
The flypast was followed by a synchronized multiple aircraft weapon delivery demonstration of precision based bombing at simulated enemy targets by Mirage-2000, Su-30, MiG-27 Upgrade aircraft and the Jaguar.
After demonstrating the offensive capabilities, the exercise demonstrated the multi-layered Air Defence Operations of the IAF. It comprised of the fly past by the Flight Refuelling aircraft (IL-78 FRA) along with two Su-30 aircraft and the indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, which displayed its swing role attack capabilities by delivering Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) followed by firing an air to air missile, engaging both targets with deadly precision.
Apart from the fighters, the assault landing capability of versatile C-130 J aircraft and the fire fighting capability of the Mi-17V5, were also displayed in this phase.
The event showcased more than 22 types of platforms and Weapons Systems. Frontline fighter aircraft including Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-29, Attack helicopters, Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and high tech AWACS displayed their potential during the show in which prestigious indigenous project – Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas” was also a part. Transport aircraft like An-32, Embraer, IL-76, IL-78 and C-130J participated in all their glory while medium lift helicopters (Mi-17, Mi-17 1V, Mi-17 V5) and attack helicopters (Mi-25, Mi-35) constituted the rotary wing ingredients.
Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parikar, Hon’ble Rajasthan Governor Shri Kalyan Singh, Chief Minister Smt Vasundhara Raje and Chiefs of Indian Army and Indian Navy were among others present during the Exercise.