Southern Air Command’s area of responsibility increases

February 20th, 2009 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 20 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to shift its Maritime Air Operations (MAO) headquarters to the Southern Air Command (SAC) based here to enable quicker response to emergencies in the Indian Ocean region, it was announced here Friday.
“The new arrangements will come into effect from April 1 and are an indication of the growing importance of this command,” SAC Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief S. Radhakrishnan told reporters here.

The SAC is currently conducting the Dakshin Prahar exercise here to validate the IAF’s concept of flexi-use of air space. The exercise, which began Wednesday, will conclude Feb 25.

“During the exercise, IAF and Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials are constantly in touch and information is being shared regarding flight plans so that civil air traffic is not affected. During this period, a certain target is fixed in a carefully crafted corridor in coordination with AAI,” Radhakrishnan explained.

“Modern tactics of combat air power are also being practiced,” he added.

State of the art fighter aircraft such as Sukhoi 30 MKI, Mirage 2000 and upgraded versions of maritime Jaguar are taking part in the exercise.

All the combat aircraft are capable of air-to-air refueling by the IL-78s which are strategically positioned to increase the reach of fighters to go around the peninsula without refueling.

Vital transport support and communication duties during the exercise would be performed by AN-32 and Avro aircraft and Mi-8 helicopters.

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