In an effort to evaluate its own ‘Rapid Airlift Capability’ and to improvise crew currency in the role, Western Air Command of the IAF airlifted a record 463 tonnes of the load from its airbase at Chandigarh to airfields and drop zones in the Ladakh region, in a single wave.
The effort was completed with the aid of a fleet of 16 fixed-wing transport aircraft comprising of C-17 Globemaster, the Ilyushin-76 Gajraj and the Medium lift Tactical aircraft, Antonov-32. All the aircraft were loaded and left from Chandigarh airbase early in the morning. The whole wave was accomplished in little less than 6 hours.
Airlift of estimated 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 command is entrusted with the air maintenance of the whole northern region of the country and under normal operating circumstances airlifts close to 3000 tonnes of load per month.
“Rapid air mobility is a key component of modern warfare. This anticipates 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. With a greater spectrum of military transport aircraft in its inventory the IAF today has a credible airlift capability which has provided succor on numerous occasions when the nation was struck with natural calamities” said Air Marshall NJS Dhillon AVSM, the SASO of Western Air Command, under whose direction the effort was achieved