Exercise Vijayee Bhava (blessed to win), the first of a series of Western Command routine annual summer exercises was conducted in the North Rajasthan to test the operational and transformational effectiveness of the ‘Kharga’ Corps as also validate new concepts which have emerged during the transformation studies undertaken by the Army. The month-long exercise of a simulated battlefield environment involving the Kharga Corps and the air elements of Western Air Command (WAC) was progressively built on from the smallest unit upwards to the entire Corps. GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen SR Ghosh, flew in an IAF Jaguar over the large exercise area covering nearly 2,400 sq km. The exercise was aimed at implementing the concept of a more agile, versatile, lethal, networked force The dynamic process of operations, both offensive and defensive, integrating and validation of concepts of modern warfare that have emerged during the transformation studies of Indian Army, network centricity, testing and evaluation of new equipments were some of the objectives achieved in the exercise.
Of the various procedures practiced were rapid mobilization involving several mechanised operations towards offensive operations; enhancing battlefield transparency and operational plans based on real-time situational awareness using intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) inputs from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and satellites. With air power envisaged to play a decisive role in future battles, the increased air assets of the Army and Air Force were employed in an integrated manner in the exercise. In fact, Army- Air Force integration in all stages and employment of airborne and heliborne Special Forces was a highlight of this exercise.
Offensive air defence drills including interception in enemy territory, decimation of advancing armour, round-the-clock readiness for fighters and attack helicopters, mobilization of several ground and airborne air defence assets were undertaken by the IAF. Mig-29, Mig-21 Bison, Jaguars, IL-76, AN-32, Mi-17 1V, Avro, Chetak and the attack helicopters – Mi-25/35 all told flew over a hundred sorties. 300 paratroopers and 50 despatchers were air dropped from one IL-76 and six AN-32 transport aircraft in stealthy night operations. The IAF pressed in Mi-17 1V Utility helicopters for special heliborne operations (SHBO), including dropping of Special Forces behind simulated enemy lines.