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The Indian Air Force, which is at the forefront of the country’s fight against the pandemic, is set to complete 1,000 sorties in Covid-19 relief, officials familiar with the development said on Saturday. It has so far carried out more than 900 international and global sorties to strengthen the country’s efforts for Covid-19 relief.
“The IAF has flown 778 sorties domestic sorties amounting to 1,147 flying hours. Also, it has undertaken 130 sorties internationally amounting to 633 flying hours,” an IAF official said. The IAF has deployed a variety of aircraft for Covid-19 relief including C-17 Globemaster III, IL-76s, C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft, An-32 transport planes, Dornier aircraft and helicopters.
The armed forces have been at the forefront of the fight against the deadly disease, and have helped meet the exploding demand for oxygen, set up dedicated Covid-19 hospitals and opened doors of military hospitals to civilians.
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria has ordered “24×7 readiness” of the air force’s entire heavy-lift fleet and substantial numbers of the medium-lift fleet to operate in a hub and spoke model for Covid-related duties.
The IAF has airlifted critical stores from several countries including Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Australia, Indonesia and Israel. Domestic shuttles have covered Jamnagar, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Panagarh, Indore, Ranchi, Agra, Jodhpur, Begumpet, Bhubaneswar, Pune, Surat, Raipur, Udaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Nagpur, Gwalior, Vijayawada, Baroda, Dimapur and Hindan.