Indian Air Force airlifts record 463 tonnes of cargo to Ladakh in a single wave using 16 aircraft

Indian Air Force is strengthening its operational abilities in forward areas closer to the international border with China

In an effort to evaluate the ‘Rapid Airlift Capability’ of the Indian Air Force, today a record 463 tonnes of material was airlifted using 16 fixed-wing aircraft from Chandigarh and dropped at airfields and drop zones in Ladakh region on Tuesday.

The 16 aircraft included seven C-17 Globemaster transport planes, while the rest were Ilyushin-76 Gajraj and AN-32 aircraft. The entire operation was completed in less than 6 hours.

C-17 Globemaster at Leh airfield. Source: Indian Air Force

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The exercise to airlift approximately 500 tones of cargo in a single wave was undertaken to assess the capability of the force towards rapid and heavy airlift. The operation was conducted by Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force.

Air Marshall NJS Dhillon, SASO of Western Air Command, said, “Rapid air mobility is a key component of modern warfare. This assumes 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.” The operation was conducted under the command of Dhillon.

Seven C-17 Globemaster aircraft lined up at Leh. source: Indian Air Force

The heavy aircraft, including the 7 Globemasters, landed at the Leh Air Force Station in Ladakh, which is located at 10,700 feet from the sea level. The smaller AN-32 planes were used for drops in the forward areas of the region.

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster is a recent addition to Indian Air Force, which is made by American aviation giant Boeing. On the other hand, Ilyushin-76 and AN-32 are Russian aircraft, although the manufacturer of AN-32, Antonov is now a Ukrainian company.

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