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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is taking its pilot training to the next level by introducing live air-to-air missile engagements against electronic targets. This initiative comes in response to the growing prominence of combat drones and sub-sonic cruise missiles in modern warfare.

The battlefield landscape is constantly evolving, with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sub-sonic cruise missiles playing an increasingly significant role. These new threats demand a more nuanced and realistic training approach for IAF pilots.

Traditionally, IAF pilots honed their skills using electronic simulated targets and Pilotless Target Drones (PTDs) replicating rudimentary threats like kamikaze drones and basic cruise missiles. While these methods have served well, the need for more sophisticated training tools has become evident.

The IAF’s new training program incorporates live air-to-air missile firings against electronic targets. This advanced method provides a more realistic combat scenario, allowing pilots to experience the complexities of engaging these modern aerial threats. The increased accuracy of electronic targets compared to traditional PTDs further enhances the training experience.

This shift towards live missile training offers several advantages:

  • Enhanced Realism: Pilots experience the pressure and decision-making processes of real-world combat situations.
  • Improved Skills: Live engagements hone pilots’ skills in target acquisition, tracking, and missile employment against advanced threats.
  • Increased Confidence: Pilots gain greater confidence in their abilities to neutralize modern aerial threats, bolstering overall mission effectiveness.