The Indian Air Force has reportedly begun its preparation to hold the next edition of the Vayu Shakti FirePower Demonstration (FPD) exercise in Pokhran, Thar Desert, starting February 10. This will be the second edition under the title, which was previously hosted under the tag “Iron Fist” in 2013 and 2016.
Vayu Shakti is a firepower demonstration exercise that focuses on displaying Indian Air Force’s offensive and defensive capabilities to deal with contemporary threats of the modern battlefield. It includes the ability to operate in an electronically contested environment and precisely conduct realistic simulations employing network-centric warfare strategies.
The first edition of 2019 saw the participation of more than 140 aircraft, ranging from fast-mover fighter jets like Su-30MKI, MiG-29UPG, Jaguar LCA, Tejas, etc., to slow, steady but lethal helicopters like Mi-17, Mi-35, etc. Co-ordinated missions involving paratroopers and utility helicopters were carried out as well. It received wide appreciation from civilians as the event was telecasted live for the general public with commentary describing the ongoing action and participating unit.
As exercise finally receives a go-ahead for the next edition, a lot can be expected. A variety of new systems are expected to perform, that might include the S-400 “Triumf” air defense system, Dassault Rafale F3R omnirole fighter aircraft, BrahMos Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), AH-64E “Guardian” attack helicopter, and more. Combat free fall exercises involving Garud Commandos will be some aesthetic highlights.
Such events always act as a morale booster for the military and the general public, because it allows effective assessment of operational readiness of the service. The viewers get a look at how objectives are achieved in modern warfare with the employment of Network Centric ability alongside the weapons of destruction.
The standard is to hold the exercise once every three years. The last Vayu Shakti edition: 2019 was successfully executed, with the participation of more than 130 aircraft. The crowd, which also includes dozens of diplomats and foreign officers, also serves as a live promotion of indigenous products as the Indian Government actively looks for export orders.