New Delhi: The Indian Army was bringing results but the Indian Air Force (IAF) broke the Pakistani Army’s morale and will to continue holding the heights it had captured in Kargil, former IAF officers said while talking about the 1999 war.
Giving credit to air power for playing a decisive role in the Kargil war 20 years ago, they said the recce done and the innovation used by the IAF was the turning point in the Kargil war.
“The IAF delivered fixed armaments on targets which were at an altitude of 15,000 ft and above, something not done in the world before,” Air Vice Marshal (retd) Manmohan Bahadur told IANS as the country commemorates the 20th anniversary of ‘Operation Vijay’.
The war broke out in May 1999 after India detected Pakistani troops on mountain peaks of Kargil and launched an operation to evict the intruders, which took about three months.
Air Vice Marshal Bahadur, who was then the Staff Officer to Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis, said, “Damages caused by IAF strikes generally helped the Army in taking over those daunting heights.”
The precision Laser Guided Bombs (LGB) strike on Tiger Hill is representative of how the IAF adapted difficult and novel circumstances, the IAF officer said.
Group Captain (retd) Sandeep Mehta said, the IAF played a role in breaking the moral and will of the enemy.
The precision attacks on the Pakistan’s supply depot and others was due to the accurate intelligence the IAF had gathered in aerial recce, the former IAF Officer said.
“All this was possible due to the innovation IAF carried out in recce of enemy positions exactly knowing how many troops were there. Initially Army also had no ideas about the number of enemy troops who had occupied the heights. We got these pictures that brought in more clarity,” Gp Capt Mehta said.
The IAF used lots of innovations as those sensors were not available during that time, he added.
The challenges IAF faced was that technologically the force did not have sensors to get the right kind of imagery, he said. The IAF also used for the first time GPS in the Kargil war.
Lots of innovation, adaptations and lots of creativity was shown by the IAF, he added.