MiG-29 fighter jets, Sukhoi-30s and Apache AH-64E attack helicopters are among the patrol aircraft
Weeks after a clash between Indian and Chinese troopers in the Galwan valley that resulted in the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers, the Air Force has started conducting night patrols at forward bases along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with its fighter aircraft and attack helicopters.
Among the aircraft that had been undertaking the Air Force’s night missions are MiG-29 twin-engine fighter jets, Sukhoi-30 fighters, Apache AH-64E twin-turboshaft attack helicopters and Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.
With these patrols, the Indian Air Force is sending a message to the opponent that its aircraft were capable of undertaking all-weather, all-terrain and day-and-night missions in the Ladakh, said IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major as saying. Since early May, the Air Force had been transporting soldiers, tanks and infantry combat vehicles to Ladakh on its C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. It had also used its C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to move troopers to advanced landing grounds. The night patrols come a week after the Defence Ministry had granted its approval for the purchase of ₹38,900 crore-worth arms and ammunition. It included as many as 33 new fighter aircraft for the Air Force as it had been facing a shortage of warplanes.