Reviewing IAF operations with Air Chief Marshal R K Bhadauria, the PM stressed on the need to “increase the speed, scale and safety of operations” in transporting oxygen tankers and other essential material within the country as well as overseas.
ACM Bhadauria, in turn, informed Modi that IAF has ordered “24×7 readiness” of its entire heavy-lift aircraft fleet and “substantial numbers” of the medium-lift fleets to operate “in a hub-and-spoke model” to rapidly meet all Covid-related tasking across the country and overseas.
Took stock of the ongoing efforts by the Indian Air Force to mitigate the COVID-19 situation. IAF is focussing on… https://t.co/WfjoPx76XG
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1619603554000
“Aircrew for all fleets have also been augmented to ensure round the clock operations. A dedicated Covid air support cell has also been set up by the force to ensure faster coordination with different ministries and agencies,” he said.
The IAF’s C-17 Globemaster-III and IL-76 aircraft have been carrying out sorties to airlift oxygen tankers from aboard as well as within the country for the last several days.
After Dubai and Singapore, a C-17 airlifted three oxygen tankers from Bangkok in Thailand to Jamnagar in Gujarat on Wednesday. IAF aircraft also crisscrossed the country to transport oxygen tankers, from Agra and Ranchi to Bhopal and Surat.
Moreover, two Singapore Air Force C-130 aircraft also transported 256 oxygen cylinders to the Panagarh airbase in West Bengal, with contactless off-loading and other ground operations.
At the review meeting, the PM also spoke about the need to ensure that IAF personnel engaged in Covid-related operations remain safe from infection, while inquiring about the health of personnel and their families in the force.
ACM Bhadauria said “near saturation vaccination coverage” has been achieved in the IAF, with the force also increasing its Covid-19 medical facilities and is assisting civilians wherever possible.