The government has enlisted the help of the Indian Air Force to airlift oxygen cylinders, regulators, and necessary medicines in the face of the deteriorating Covid-19 situation. The IAF has been using its C-17 and IL-76 aircraft to airlift oxygen tankers, cutting transportation time in half. To assist the government in combating the pandemic, the IAF has already airlifted troops, physicians, and nursing staff.
Due to an increase in Covid-19 cases, the country is experiencing an acute shortage of oxygen and critical drugs. The Indian Air Force will also be assigned to airlift oxygen containers and equipment from friendly nations, according to the government. The government is having transportation problems due to a severe shortage of containers to ship. The government has already begun discussions with all stakeholders in order to obtain the contingency plan
Doctors and nurses have already been airlifted from Kochi, Mumbai, Vizag, and Bengaluru in order to establish a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Covid hospital in Delhi. The force also airlifted DRDO oxygen containers from Bengaluru to Delhi’s Covid centres.
To deal with the crisis, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh ordered all defence establishments to construct more Covid-19 hospitals, use emergency forces, and bring in retired personnel on Tuesday.
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 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 large quantity of load comprising bio safety cabinets and autoclave machines for setting up of 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 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.