UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Mar 18

18 March 2016

Exercise Iron Fist 2016   

What happened?


On March 18, 2016, the Exercise Iron Fist was conducted for the year 2016 by the Indian Air Force. The Iron Fist is a biennial event where the Indian Air Force displays its firepower capacity to the public. The first such event was conducted in 2013. It is held at Pokhran, Rajasthan.

Such military exercises in which India participates are important from the point of view of international relations and security for the UPSC IAS Exam.

Iron Fist

  • The Iron Fist is a day and night exercise of the Indian Air Force where its fire and combat power and capabilities are exhibited.
  • It is held at the Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan. Till date, only two such exercises have been held, one in 2013 and the second one in 2016.
  • The Iron Fist 2016 was held on March 18th and in the presence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President Pranab Mukherjee.
  • The then Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha said in the welcome address that the purpose of the exercise was to reassure the country about the force’s commitment and abilities in protecting the national interests.
  • The even showcased 6 packages each with a different theme. The show included more than 180 aircrafts such as helicopters and fighters.
  • The themes included the transformation of the air force, air defence, net-centric operations, combat support, night operations and also soft power.
  • The show also included manned as well as unmanned aircrafts; surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles; and also Special Forces.
  • 181 aircrafts flew in 69 missions. There were 103 fighters and 59 helicopters exhibiting their prowess.
  • The fighters included Su-30 MKI, Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, Mirage 2000, MiG-27 UPG, MiG-29, Jaguar, Hawk advanced jet trainer and MiG-21 Bison.
  • The helicopters used were Mi-35 attack helicopters, Mi-17 variants, Light Combat Helicopters and Dhruv ALH.
  • The aircrafts departed from different air force bases and arrived over the target in a synchronised fashion. The event also showcased simulated targets.
  • The spectacular show also featured a sonic-salute to the President which meant that the MIG29 broke the sound barrier.
  • The Make in India venture in the field of military aviation was also on display.
  • The forces also demonstrated simulated aerial combat and transfer of air fuel in mid-air.
  • Night bombing was displayed which lit up the sky much like the festival of Diwali.
  • Soft power display included aerobatic show and a synchronised aerial ballet. The public was also enthralled by the IAF Symphony orchestra and the Drill Team during the break time.
  • The Indian Air Force is the fourth largest air power in the world and is also a vital part of the country’s defence mechanism. It also plays an important part in rescue missions and relief operations.
  • Its mission statements are: “People First, Mission Always” and “More you sweat in peace, Less you bleed in war”.
Also on this day

1922: Mahatma Gandhi sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for the civil disobedience movement.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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