Pokhran: Indian Air Force's first day-night exercise demonstrating its combat and fire prowess began today at Rajasthan's Pokharan firing range in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The mammoth fire power exercise 'Iron Fist' in the skies over the Thar desert commenced with 'flag trooping' by Mi8 helicopters and fly past by IAF planes followed by net-enabled operations.
At the beginning of the programme, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne delivered opening address giving an insight into the exercise and the level of modernisation in the force.
Browne said the force has progressed closed to execute seamless network-centric operation.
The event comprises three phases in which over 100 fighter and transport aircraft and helicopters are participating with equal number of aircrafts being on standby.
The event is showcasing more than 30 types of platforms and Weapons Systems amounting to a participation of about 230 aircraft.
Frontline fighter aircraft including Sukhoi 30, Mirage 2000, Jaguar, MiG 27, MiG 21, MiG 29, attack helicopters, UAV and high-tech AWACS are to display their potential in the show of which prestigious indigenous project- Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' is also a part.
Transport aircraft like AN-32, Embraer, IL-76, IL-78 and C-130J while Mi-17V5 and Mi-25, Mi-35 attack helicopters constitute the rotary wing ingredients.
Pilatus-7, the state-of-art trainer aircraft, is also a part of the fly past.
Low level aerobatics by SU-30 aircraft is the added attraction of the event.
The exercise is also showcasing IAF's latest acquisition Pilatus PC-7 Mk II basic trainer aircraft and Bambi Bucket Operations by Mi-17 V5 helicopter.
The event also has the performance by helicopter aerobatic team 'Saarang'.
Defence Minister A K Antony, Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are among others present at the mammoth exercise.