Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SAC Area of Responsibility increases : Feb 20, 2009

In an indication of growing importance of Southern Air Command, the Maritime Air Operations (MAO) Headquarters based in Mumbai will be placed under it. The new arrangements will come into effect from April 1, 2009. This was announced by Air Marshal S Radhakrishnan, AOC-in-C of Southern Air Command (SAC) here today. Currently the MAO Hqs in Mumbai is under the control of Gandhinagar based South-Western Air Command of IAF. Thus, air support for maritime activities will now be controlled by SAC.

While interacting with media during the ongoing IAF Exercise 'DAKSHIN PRAHAR', Air Marshal Radhakrishnan said an Aerostat Radar with the capability of picking up targets at lower ranges will be established in two years.

IAF is conducting Exercise DAKSHIN PRAHAR to validate the concept of flexi use of air space from 18th February and will end on 25th February 2009. During the exercise, IAF and Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials are constantly in touch on daily basis and the information is being shared regarding flight plans so that civil air traffic is not affected, Air Marshal Radhakrishnan said. On each day of the exercise, a certain target is fixed in carefully crafted corridor in coordination with AAI and modern tactics of using combat air power is being practiced.

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. The maritime Jaguars can carry special weapons required for maritime operations. Aircraft are also being operated from Bangalore, Pune and Goa, in addition to Thiruvananthapuram, he said. 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. AN-32s, Avro and Mi-8 are providing vital transport support and perform communication duties during the exercise.

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