PHOTOS #3: At Ex Vijayee Bhava

Army Statement: Manoeuvring columns of Indian Army tanks and hovering helicopters in soaring temperatures in the desert terrain of northern Rajasthan near Suratgarh simulated an intense battlefield scenario in the joint Army-IAF exercise Vijayee Bhava as it entered its crucial culmination phase.

The month-long exercise of a simulated battlefield environment involving the Ambala-based Kharga Corps and the air elements of Western Air Command (WAC) was progressively built on from the smallest unit upwards to the entirety of the Corps.

Validating the joint nature of the operations, GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen SR Ghosh flew in an IAF Jaguar over the large exercise area covering nearly 2,400 sq km. The exercise is aimed at making the force more agile, versatile, lethal, networked and capable of giving victory in war, outlined the Army Commander.

The dynamic process of operations, both offensive and defensive, integrating and validation of concepts of modern warfare that have emerged during the transformation studies of Indian Army, network centricity, testing and evaluation of new equipments are some of the objectives achieved in the exercise.

The exercise aimed at rapid mobilization involved several mechanized operations towards offensive operations. Battlefield transparency and operational plans based on real-time situational awareness was enhanced using intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) inputs from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and satellites.

With air assets to play a decisive role in future battles, the increased air assets of the Army and Air Force were employed in an integrated manner in the exercise. Integration with the Air Force in all stages and employment of airborne and heliborne Special Forces has been a highlight of the Exercise Vijayee Bhava.

The IAF elements involved in the exercise included Mig-29, Mig-21 Bison, Jaguars, IL-76, AN-32, Mi-17 1V, Avro, Chetak and the attack helicopters – Mi-25/35. Offensive Air Defence was integral in the exercise that included interception in enemy territory. Nearly 100 fighter sorties, decimation of advancing armour, round-the-clock readiness for fighters and attack helicopters, mobilization of several ground and airborne air defence assets were undertaken by the IAF. 300 paratroopers and 50 despatchers were air dropped from one IL-76 and six AN-32 transport aircraft in stealthy night operations. The IAF pressed in Mi-17 1V Utility helicopters for special heliborne operations (SHBO), including dropping of Special Forces behind simulated enemy lines.

Exercise Vijayee Bhava draws to a close in mid-May.

Photos Courtesy DPR Defence