Behind an unprecedented military build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh to confront a belligerent China is a never-before heavy lift capability acquired by the IAF.
The induction of assets like the C-17 Globemaster, C-130 Super Hercules and CH-47 Chinook over the past few years has enormously enhanced the Air Force’s ability to ferry troops and equipment.
As both sides dig in for a long haul, with no immediate signs of de-escalation, IAF sorties to the Himalayan frontier continue unabated, bringing in all types of military equipment and supplies. This includes flights by the older IL-76 and AN-32 that have been part of the IAF fleet since the 1980s.
The most significant aspect of the air effort perhaps is airlifting of India’s newest and most powerful tanks, the T-90, which now spearhead the Army’s strike formations, from the plains to Ladakh. Chinese deployment across the LAC, including concentrations in depth, reportedly includes a mix of light and heavy tanks, including new variants.
Besides through air, heavy induction has also been taken through the Srinagar-Leh and Manali-Leh road axis.