Rapid air mobility is a key in modern warfare. To test its own `Rapid Airlift Capability, the Western Air Command (WAC) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday airlifted a record 463 tonnes of load from its airbase at Chandigarh and dropped them in airfields and designated drop zones in the Ladakh region, in a single wave.
This exercise was accomplished with the participation of 16 fixed wing transport aircraft comprising of C-17 Globemaster, the Ilyushin-76 Gajraj and the Medium lift Tactical aircraft, An-32. With the early morning loading and take off from Chandigarh airbase, the entire wave was accomplished in less than six hours.
According to the IAF, “The airlift of approx. 500 tonnes, in the achieved time frame, in a single wave, happens to be a record which
enhances the assessment of the Commands’ capability towards rapid and heavy airlift.”
The WAC is tasked with the air maintenance of the entire northern region of the country and under normal operating circumstances airlifts close to 3000 tonnes of load per month.
The officer under whose direction the feat was achieved, Air Marshall NJS Dhillon, SASO of Western Air Command, said, “Rapid air mobility is a key component of modern warfare. This assumes greater significance in short and intense wars. This is very true in India’s context, especially when related to air mobility to airfields in the Ladakh region.”
According to him with the wide range of military transport aircraft in its inventory, the IAF has a credible airlift capability and has been the main provider of support of the nation at times of natural calamities.