Indian Air Force 2017 at a Glance: Touching the Sky with Glory

The Indian Air Force is one of the most technologically advanced and superior air forces in the world. Today, the Indian Air Force is the world’s fourth largest air force in the world. It boasts numerous fighters, helicopters and transport aircrafts. Not only this, while our mean machines save our skies, the Garud Commando force is always there to save us in time of any external threats or attacks. Let us appreciate our men in blues by rewinding in time and having a look at 2017 of Indian Air Force.

Exercies with Foreign Countries

  1. Ex SIAM BHARAT-2017:

A Command Post Exercise (CPX) was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 22 -26 May 17. 11 member IAF team participated in the exercise.

  1. Exercise INDRA-2017:

Tri Service Exercise INDRA-2017 was held in Russia from 19-29 Oct 17. HQ IDS was the steering agency for Ex Indra-17. IAF participated with 1 x IL-76 along with 80 personnel chosen from various areas of core competencies. Additionally, one IL-76 was utilised for induction/de-induction of the contingent.

Ex Indra 2017
Ex Indra 2017
  1. Ex Blue Flag-2017:

IAF participated in a multilateral exercise, Blue Flag-2017 at Uvda and Nevatim AFB, Israel from 05-16 Nov 17. The IAF contingent included 1 x C-130 ac and 45 personnel including Garuds. DG Air (Ops) attended the Distinguished Visitor’s Day of the exercise at Uvda and Nevatim AFB, Israel on November 14, 2017.

Blue Flag 2017
Blue Flag 2017
  1. Joint Military Training (JMT-17):

JMT-17 with Republic of Singapore Air Force was held at Air Force Station Kalaikunda from 29 Oct 17 as part of Bilateral agreement with RSAF. RSAF inducted 6 x F-16 C/D on November 6, 2017 and de-inducted on 14 Dec 17. Bilateral phase of JMT-17 was held from 27 Nov 17 to 11 Dec 17.

JMT 2017
JMT 2017

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations

  1. Airlift of Oil Tankers:

Due to Manipur economic blockade, a total of two 20KL oil tankers and twelve 12KL oil tankers were airlifted from Guwahati to Imphal, between 22 Jan 17 and 22 Feb 17, employing the C-17 and IL-76 aircraft.

Oil Tanker Airlift by IAF
Oil Tanker Airlift by IAF
  1. Srinagar Bi-Election:

In view of Srinagar Bi-Election, C-17 aircraft were tasked to airlift CRPF personnel from Imphal to Srinagar from 01-04 Apr 17. A total of 856 CRPF personnel and 60 tons of loads were airlifted.

  1. Rajasthan Flood Relief (24 Jul 17 – 02 Aug 17):

IAF helicopters were used during the flash floods in Rajasthan, where in 3.25 T of food packets were air dropped for in the areas affected by floods.

  1. Flood relief in UP, Bihar and Assam (13 Aug 17 -24 Aug 17):

IAF deployed C-17 and AN-32 fleet to airlift NDRF and Army teams to undertook rescue missions in flood affected areas in Purnia due to heavy rainfall in Aug 2017. The aircraft was also used to move relief material to AF Stn Purnia to meet the demand of the flood affected region. Further IAF deployed Mi-17 V5 helicopters at Purnia to undertake distribution of relief materials. IAF undertook around 300 missions for evacuating more than 1500 personnel and distributing 570 T of relief materials.

  1. Rescue of Foreign Nationals:

IAF helicopters rescued stranded foreigners from high peaks in Ladakh regions on various occasions. Air effort was provided for search and rescue of citizens of Switzerland in Jul 2017, Israel and Germany in Aug 2017, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden and USA in Sep 2017.

Foreign Nationals Being Resuced By IAF in LAdakh
Foreign Nationals Being Resuced By IAF in Ladakh
  1. Relief Mission for Rohingya Refugees, Bangladesh:

Two C-17 aircraft airlifted 107 tons of relief material from Delhi to Dhaka, Bangladesh on 14-15 Sep 17 as an aid to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Rohingya Relief Mission Bangladesh
Rohingya Relief Mission Bangladesh
  1. Relief Mission for Rohingya Refugees, Myanmar:

One C-17 aircraft airlifted 42 tons of relief material from Delhi to Yangon (Myanmar) on 24 Nov 17 as an aid to the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar.

  1. Anti-Naxal Operations:

04 X Mi-17V5 MLHs, 02 x Mi-17 MLHs and 01 x ALH Mk-III helicopters are deployed since Oct 2009 in support of MHA for Anti-Naxal operations, code named ‘Op Triveni’. The Mi-17V5s are deployed two each at Raipur and Jagdalpur and the Mi-17s operate ex-Ranchi. ALH Mk-Ills operate ex-Raipur/Jagdalpur. All operations are undertaken as per ‘Joint SOP’ and ‘Rules of Engagement’ for ‘OP Triveni’ approved by MHA and MoD.

  1. Op Sahayam (SAR for Missing Fishermen at Trivandrum):

In the aftermath of cyclone ‘Ockhi’ the IAF unrelentingly pursued HADR missions, by employing its air assets, and rescued 17 fishermen from the sea. Additionally, one C-130J was kept ready at Hindan along with NDRF team and load to be flown directly to Agatti, Lakshadweep Islands, in case of any contingency.

Asset Acquisitions in 2017

  1. Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas):

In consonance with the ‘Make in India’ campaign launched by the Prime Minister, the first Squadron of Tejas, an advanced multirole aircraft with state-of-art avionics was formed on 01 Jul 16. This year the aircraft participated in the Republic Day Flypast, Aero India and in the AF Day flypast.

  1. Su-30 MKI:

Induction of Su-30 MKI aircraft in the IAF is under progress. The current lot of Su-30 MKI aircraft are being manufactured in HAL through Transfer of Technology. Advanced indigenous weapons like ‘BrahMos’ supersonic cruise missile and ‘Astra’ Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile has been indigenously integrated and fired from aircraft.

  1. Rafale:

Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) was signed with the Govt. of France for procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft on 23 Sep 16. The squadrons are expected to form by 2022.

  1. Hercules C-130J-30:

IAF has inducted additional six C-130J all-weather transport aircraft which is designed for Special Operations. The aircraft has proven its worth in a number of HADR operations in Nepal, Bihar and J&K. The aircraft was instrumental in the operations against ANEs at AF Station Pathankot and deployment of para military troops in Srinagar. IAF is enhancing the operational capability of the ac by procuring Night Vision Goggles.

  1. Mi-17 V5 Helicopters:

IAF has been operating Mi-17 V5 and case for procurement of additional helicopters is in progress. Mi-17 V5 helicopter is specially designed with full glass cockpit, advanced avionics, weather radar and powerful aero engines for high altitude operations. The helicopter is being exploited for various civil and military operations such as transportation, paratrooper induction, search & rescue, medical evacuation and fire fighting in all weather conditions. The Night Vision Goggles compatibility enables its unhindered operations even during low visibility and dark night conditions.

  1. Sensor Fuzed Weapon:

IAF has procured Sensor Fuzed Weapons and associated equipment which can be utilised against concentration of tanks and other mechanized vehicles. Weapon integration has been completed in Sep 2017.

Technical Upgrades

  1. MiG-29 Upgrade:

The MiG-29 aircraft are being upgraded with state of the art avionics, an array of smart air to air and air to ground weapons. The addition of in-flight refuelling capability on MiG-29 upgrade has significantly increased its combat potential. The first phase of the project was Design & Development (D&D) in Russia. The Series Upgrade in second phase of the remaining aircraft is being undertaken in India, at the Base Repair Depot, Nasik.

  1. Advanced Light Helicopter Mk-IV:

Advance Light Helicopter has been further developed into ALH Mk-IV version. It has been transformed into armed platform by integration of various modern weapons. ALH Mk-IV is armed with rockets, guns and air to air missiles for carrying out the armed role.

  1. MLH Upgrade:

Contract for upgrade of Medium Lift Helicopters was signed with M/s Elbit Systems Ltd on 30 Jan 17. The upgrade will improve the Electronic Warfare (EW) and night operations capability of the fleet.

  1. Restoration of Vintage Flight:

Vintage aircraft of World War-II era form an important part of Indian aviation and heritage of the IAF. One Tiger Moth and one Harvard aircraft, after restoration, are operating in IAF colours. Being an integral part of most air displays, both aircraft have enthralled audiences all over the country. They remind us of our rich aviation heritage besides motivating the young generation.

  1. Procurement and Upgradation of Aeromedical Simulators:

IAF is in the process of upgrading the existing aeromedical simulators and procuring new ones to enhance the operational training of aircrew using these simulators with the ultimate aim of achieving aerospace safety.

  1. Software Defined Radio:

The contract for Software Defined Radio (SDR) was signed in Jul 2017. The SDR will be integrated on various IAF Airborne and Ground platforms, and will enhance Network Centric Warfare capability of the IAF.

  1. AEW&C (Indigenous) System:

The first DRDO designed and developed Airborne Early Warning &Control (AEW&C) system, aboard Embraer-145 aircraft, was inducted in the IAF in Feb 2017. The state of the art Active Electronically Scanned Array based Radar system can detect airborne objects from far off distances and provides early warning to the Air Defence Command and Control Centres. AEW&C is a huge leap by India towards achieving self-reliance in development of military capabilities.

  1. Pechora & OSA-AK:

Pechora missiles are being refurbished with a fresh lease of life for 10 years. The process involves extensive technical examinations of missiles frames/components, testing, repairs and replacement of propellants, indigenised by Ordnance factories. The equipment is planned to be digitised from the existing valve-based technology. The missiles of OSA-AK have been refurbished with the help of Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Hyderabad.

  1. SPYDER LLQRM System:

The SPYDER Low Level Quick Reaction Missile system, equipped with Python 5 and Derby missiles, has been inducted into the IAF. This system provides a comprehensive response to the saturation attacks with multiple target engagement, thus boosting the short range AD capability.

  1. MRSAM:

On completion of successful Verification Firing Tests of MRSAM system by DRDO, IAF is in the process of inducting these systems. MRSAM is capable of engaging targets from extreme low altitude to high altitude and very close range to medium ranges. This extremely capable Area Air Defence weapon networked in the modern IACCS system of IAF would defeat all types of hostile targets, including those with extremely low RCS, even in a dense jamming environment.

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