Gaganshakti-2024 to Test IAF’s Preparedness to Counter Potential Threats, Showcase India’s Strength

Indian Air Force

New Delhi: The countdown to Gaganshakti-2024, a crucial wargame begins. Aimed at testing its preparedness to counter potential threats from Pakistan and China simultaneously, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to conduct a 10-day wargame – Gaganshakti-2024,  starting from April 1, 2024 and is expected to surpass the scale of the 2018, which saw the participation of nearly 1150 aircraft. The wargame – Gaganshakti-2024 seeks to evaluate integrated war-fighting strategies and tactics in collaboration with the Indian Army and the Indian Navy.

The IAF has strengthened its arsenal with advanced weaponry, following the aftermath of Operation Balakot and subsequent skirmishes with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). The induction of French Rafale fighter jets, indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) like Prachand, and C-295 transport aircraft, integration of BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missiles with Sukhoi fighter jets, along with the addition of Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) to the Rafale fleet, has significantly enhanced the IAF’s combat capabilities.

Additionally, the acquisition of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles and the indigenous Astra Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-air missile has augmented the IAF’s air defence capabilities. The deployment of the LCA ‘Tejas’ aircraft, particularly along the western and northern frontiers, underscores India’s commitment to leveraging indigenous technology for defence preparedness.

Indian Air Force has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) with Gaganshakti-2024 set to commence from April 1 to 10, 2024 providing hints at the extensive scope of the wargames.

Demonstrating proactive stance in countering regional threats against the backdrop of strained relations with China, intensified by clashes in the Galwan Valley, the IAF’s swift response and deployments such as the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) in Eastern Ladakh, Rafale jets conducting long-duration flights in the Indian Ocean Region  underscores the importance of readiness and preparedness in safeguarding national interests.

Ahead of Tarang Shakti, the IAF’s first multinational exercise slated for August, Gaganshakti-2024 follows in the footsteps of Vayu Shakti, a mega firepower demonstration conducted by the IAF in the Thar desert. Underscoring India’s commitment to strengthening defence cooperation and interoperability, Tarang Shakti will see participation from the US, Germany, France, Australia, and neighbouring countries.

Serving as a testament to India’s evolving defence capabilities and its resolve to meet emerging security challenges head-on, the upcoming wargame – Gaganshakti-2024  is expected to highlight network-centric operations, incorporating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and swarm drones, in line with evolving combat doctrines.

India has made significant strides in military preparedness, transitioning from defensive posturing to a more assertive stance in safeguarding its national interests, since the landmark Brasstacks exercise in 1987.