New Delhi : August 19, 2008:The IAF’s special force commandos ‘The Garuds’ successfully demonstrated their mission capability during the Exercise Red Flag, when they neutralized an enemy Radar site capturing an Air Field and carrying out combat search and rescue operations, in Nevada desert USA.
The enemy airfield (Red Forces) was simulated at about 60 Kms from the border and was considered strategically important for the friendly forces. The intelligence report made available identified the location of airfield in desert terrain suggesting medium threat environment and adequate defensive measures. The Garuds were assigned the task of neutralizing the enemy radar site and capture the airfield in a stipulated time frame of two hours.
After acquiring all the necessary intelligence inputs, including those from satellite and Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV), the Garud Force mission commander Flt LT Jagvinder Singh carried out a detailed analysis of terrain and topography, worked out an operational plan. The plan included heliborne insertion and exfilteration of the force. The Garud during this exercise mission used assault riles as primary weapons, pistols and combat knives as secondary weapons, LMGs, Navigation and communication equipment and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).
It may be recalled that the IAF formed its first Garud Flight in year 2005 with 60 commandos initially and the force has been progressively growing since then. The need for forming such a force was felt after the Kargil Operations and terrorist attacks on IAF airfields in insurgency affected areas. The Garuds are trained to protect airfields from enemy and terrorist attacks, carry out hostage rescue operations, ‘Radar Busting’ etc. The Garuds also carry out the combat search and rescue missions (CSAR) for securing back Pilots from hostile territory.
"Capt Burry of USAF CSAR said "The Garuds have well executed all the assigned missions overcoming all the exercise limitations. The Garuds are a highly trained, motivated and mission oriented force. They never loose their focus and can achieve the near impossible task given to them"