Exercise Sudarshan Shakti: Army tests new weapons

The Indian Army is conducting a massive military exercise in Rajasthan involving troops, tanks, artillery guns and fighter aircraft. Called Exercise Sudarshan Shakti, it is conducted jointly by the Southern Command, which is headquartered in the city, and the Ahmedabad-based South Western Air Command (SWAC) in Barmer-Jaisalmer sector. The exercise is led by the 21 Corps.

A small squadron of troops communicates with other units

The military manoeuvres involve around 50,000 troops and more than 100 tank artillery guns where Indian Air Force (IAF) planes will provide tactical and strategic aerial support. The basic aim of the exercise is to practise swift military action in synergy with the IAF. The exercise aims to test the newly introduced radars, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), surveillance systems, precision guided bombs and missiles and space-based assets. 

An army tank blows a plume of sand as it rides the desert dunes. 
Pics/Indian Army

Addressing the media yesterday at a video-enabled press conference from the middle of the action, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Lt Gen Sanjeev Langer said the exercise was based on the Integrated Theatre Concept where various defence wings and military elements have to participate in a single cohesive format during war. 

War games: An MI-35 combat helicopter of the IAF flies over an army 
soldier during Exercise Sudarshan Shakti in Rajasthan

"The army wants to transform itself into a modern, lean and agile fighting force by mastering modern-day 
warfare techniques, particularly 'Air Land Battle' scenarios," he said. The exercise will culminate in the middle of the month, and will see a visit by President Pratibha Patil on December 5. 

Lt Gen Langer said that Network Centric Warfare (NCW), which involves real-time data-sharing with various battle units and defence wings, is being practised in the exercise. "Data gathered from UAVs, radars and intelligence is quickly and digitally shared with fighting groups on the ground, air and sea," he said. 

The army is also involving the Army Aviation Corps and medium lift transport helicopters for logistical transport operations. Southern Command General Officer in Command (GO-in-C) Lt Gen A K Singh said the air force was an indispensable element in today's warfare and which the troops need to practice with. 

"We will continuously and systematically review each phase of the exercise and discuss corrective measures when the exercise culminates," Singh said.

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