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560 Army parachuters join IAF's big wargames exercise

The calm of the desert was shattered on Saturday when Indian Army's Paratroopers were para-dropped behind enemy lines to strike at a target and remove any resistance to the Indian Army's armoured vehicles, thus facilitating their movement for offensive. The scene, one of a battle, however was part of a joint exercise of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army.

During the IAF's ongoing exercise, Gagan Shakti 2018, an aerial insertion demo was conducted on Saturday day and night in the vast swathes of desert in the state. For this, the Indian Army's Parachute Brigade joined the exercise with the IAF, as 560 paratroopers along with combat vehicles and GPS-guided cargo platforms.

The force was dropped behind a simulated enemy line tasked with targeting likely resistance to own armoured vehicles like tanks. Comprising of six C-130 and seven AN-32 aircraft that took off from various IAF bases, the force was also provided real-time aerial surveillance information by AWACS while being protected by the IAF's air superiority fighter, Su-30MKI.

Airborne operations are a means of aerial insertion of troops, equipment or supplies directly into the battle zone. Airborne operations are high-risk operations which are based on accurate intelligence, dynamic air dominance by own forces and criticality of requirement by ground forces. Airborne assault is a subset of Airborne Operations wherein combat troops and equipment are para dropped into the tactical battle area. These troops have specific tasks like disrupting enemy lines of communication, capture/ destruction of critical enemy infrastructure.

The accuracy and outcome of the mission highlights IAF's multi-spectral capabilities and its efficiency in providing timely support to ground forces.

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