The Indian Air Force’s Eastern Air Command will conduct a drill of fighter aircraft from six civilian airfields in its area of operation – Dimapur, Imphal, Guwahati, Kolkata, Pasighat and Andal – from tomorrow.
The exercise in two phases – October 16 to 19 and October 29 to November 1 – will be part of capability building up and operational training of undertaking operations from dispersed locations in case of hostilities.
“The drill will familiarise the IAF crew with the procedure of flying at these busy airfields and coordinate with civilian counterparts. It will help familiarising the civilian functionaries at these airfields in the conduct of military operations,” defence spokesman wing commander Ratnakar Singh said.
Su-30MKi and Hawk-132 aircraft will be taking part in this exercise.
Guwahati, Imphal, Dimapur and Kolkata will witness the first phase of exercise where three Su-30s from Kolkata and two each from other bases would participate. Andal and Pasighat will be covered in the second phase. The fighter jets today arrived in the respective civilian airfields.
The IAF had in May conducted a drill to operate fighter aircraft from four civilian airfields in the eastern sector as part of its wartime preparedness.
Currently, the eastern sector has Su-30 fighter jets which operate from the military airfields at Tezpur and Chabua and the Hawk trainer jets which are based at Kalaikunda air base. With the IAF planning to induct the Rafales, some of the new combat aircraft are likely to be based at Hasimara which used to house the phased out MiG-27s.
Eastern Air Command of the IAF oversees bases at Kolkata, Kalaikunda, Panagarh, Purnea, Bagdogra and Hasimara in West Bengal and Guwahati, Tezpur, Mohanbari, Jorhat, Chabua and Kumbhigram in Assam apart from a number of advanced landing grounds (ALGs), mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.