Landing of IAF’s transport aircraft at Raipur Airport triggers rumours

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 May 2017 11:28:24


Staff Reporter,

Raipur,

Landing of an IL-76 transport aircraft of Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday morning at Swami Vivekananda Airport triggered a tsunami of rumours that it brought a strong contingent of 1,000 troopers as well as arms and ammunitions to combat Red Rebels in Bastar.


However, official IAF sources denied any such reports and instead termed the aircraft landing in Raipur as one of the routine sorties.


According to reliable sources in Airports Authority of India (AAI), the IAF’s aircraft, rechristened as ‘Gajraj’ (Mighty King Elephant) in India, took off from Delhi’s Palam Airport and landed here at around 0830 hours. After unloading some necessary loads here at the Raipur Airport, the aircraft once again went airborne at 1,000 hours, the sources added.


“The aircraft came here with some technical and store equipments needed for Nandini Airstrip in Bhilai, which operates Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for reconnaissance mission,” Air Commodore Ajay Shukla, Task Force Commander of IAF’s Anti Naxal Task Force (ANTF) in Chhattisgarh told The Hitavada.


Air Commodore Shukla, however, turned down the reports that the IAF’s transport aircraft came here with 1,000 troopers for battling the leftwing extremism in Bastar. “It was a routine sortie,” he added.


Meanwhile, sources in IAF also clarified that IL-76 though a massive transport aircraft cannot accommodate 1,000 troopers.


“It can accommodate a maximum of 150 personnel given its capacity. No major military or civil aircraft are there in the country, which can transport 1,000 troopers or combatants in a single sortie,” the sources maintained.


In past also, the Raipur Airport had witnessed the landing of IAF transport carriers and other aircrafts for delivering spares for MI-17 V5 choppers, in addition to other logistic needs of the ‘Men in Blue’ stationed in Chhattisgarh.