Indian Air Force (IAF) has swung into action by carrying out sorties from various parts of the country to airlift oxygen containers, cylinders, essential medicines, equipment required for setting up and sustaining COVID hospitals and facilities in the fight against a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases. The IAF Transport aircraft and helicopters have been pressed into service for carrying out these tasks. These include transport aircraft C-17, C-130J, IL-76, An-32 and Avro. Chinook and Mi-17 helicopters are on standby. Tasks undertaken include airlift of doctors and nursing staff from Kochi, Mumbai, Vizag and Bangalore for various hospitals at Delhi.
The C-17 and IL-76 aircraft of IAF have started airlifting big empty oxygen tankers from their place of use to the filling stations across the country to speed up the distribution of much-needed oxygen. In addition to this, the C-17 and IL-76 have transported a large quantity of load comprising biosafety cabinets and autoclave machines for setting up an additional COVID test facility at Leh. The IAF transport and helicopter assets are on standby to be deployed at short notice.
It may be recalled that in the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, the IAF ran several sorties to deliver medicines, medical and other essential supplies required to combat the coronavirus pandemic as well as brought back stranded Indian nationals from abroad.