Hyderabad: Indian Air Force stations and training bases, including Hakimpet and Dundigal, have been put on ‘Passive Air Defence Mode (PADM)’, an exercise in which the authorities are well prepared to secure strategic assets and protect their personnel. IAF headquarters has also cancelled leave permits even to officials who are currently on leave.
A source explained that there are two types of Air Defence Mode — Passive and Active.
In case of active mode, aircraft are involved. The IAF uses anti-aircraft weapons, missiles, and intercepting aircraft to shoot down the enemy. The concept of switches into these modes is to stay alert or take on defence by securing strategic assets and personnel against the enemy’s attack. In case of passive air defence, trenches are constructed inside the units, the source added. The moment a threat is perceived, the families and personnel living inside this unit will take shelter in underground trenches to escape from the splinters in case of bombing.
The Dundigal IAF training base is home to the Swiss built Pilatus PC-7 and HAL’s Mk-1 aircraft. The IAF advanced training camp at Hakimpet houses the Kiran (Mk-2) and Chetak helicopter. Asia’s largest helicopter training school is at Hakimpet with 25 Chetak helicopters to train cadets. Hakimpet and Dundigal are important strategic assets to the IAF because these are the premier training Stage 1 & 2 camps, that is, every flying officer inducted into the IAF has to go under year-long training in Hyderabad.
Following the Pulwama attack and the air skirmish between India and Pakistan air forces in February, important installations of the Indian Army and IAF are on ‘high alert’.
The Army and IAF headquarters have issued classified directions to all stations, particularly active flying, base repair depots, and equipment depots, to up their efforts to make spares available at very short notice to meet war requirements. Also to move personnel employed in training duties.
The Army and IAF are conducting mock drills to counter intrusion or air strikes.
Other arrangements under PADM include emergency medicare at the units, and families are being trained on how to react in case of an attack. Leave has been cancelled for everyone, even those who are on leave.