On Round-the-clock Readiness to Assist in Covid-19 Relief Operations, IAF Chief Tells PM

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Backing the government in battle against raging second wave of coronavirus, the Indian Air Force has ordered round-the-clock readiness of its entire heavy-lift fleet and substantial numbers of its medium-lift fleets to rapidly meet COVID-19 related tasks across the country and overseas, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

Bhadauria also told Modi that the Air Force is deploying big as well as medium-sized aircraft to cover all terrains, the PMO said in a statement. Modi spoke about the need to ensure that the IAF personnel are engaged in Covid-related operations while taking ample precautions to stay safe from infection.

He also briefed the prime minister about a dedicated ‘Covid Air Support Cell’ set up by the IAF to ensure faster coordination with different ministries and agencies on COVID-19 related operations. Aircrew for all fleets have been augmented to ensure round-the-clock operations, Bhadauria added.

Hospitals under the IAF have increased COVID-19 facilities and are also allowing civilians wherever possible, the statement said, quoting the air chief.

During the review meeting, Modi stressed the need to increase the speed, scale and safety of operations in transporting oxygen tankers and other essential material.

He also spoke about the need to ensure that the IAF personnel engaged in COVID-19 related operations remain safe from infection and emphasised the need to ensure the safety of all COVID-19 related operations.

Modi enquired about the health of IAF personnel and their families and was informed by Bhadauria that a near saturation vaccination coverage has been achieved in the IAF.

Meanwhile, two C-130 aircraft of Republic of Singapore Airforce landed at Air Force Station Panagarh with 256 oxygen cylinders today. The operation involved contactless off loading flight planning and other ground operations.

(With PTI inputs)

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