current affairs - 2023-10-26

The Army gets a vertical wind tunnel to train special forces


The Army established its first vertical wind tunnel (VWT) at the Special Forces Training School (SFTS) in Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh, to improve the training facilities for special forces and combat free-fallers. On Wednesday, the facility was essentially opened by Army Chief General Manoj Pande.

What is a Vertical Wind Tunnel (VWT)? 

  • A Vertical Wind Tunnel (VWT) is a facility that creates an artificial column of air at specific velocities. It serves several functions, such as: 
    • Free-fall Stimulation
    • Parachute training
    • Refining the skills of combat free-fallers
    • Replicate various CFF scenarios
  • A VWT creates and directs airflow so that it travels upward and vertically through the chamber. This enables any object inside the chamber to remain still by using the upward airflow velocity to counteract gravity. 
  • The Special Forces Training School (SFTS) in Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh, housed the first VWT ever deployed by the Indian Army. The facility was formally opened by Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande. It is anticipated that the VWT will improve the Indian Army’s operational preparedness, guaranteeing that the special forces are fully prepared to tackle contemporary challenges of current and future battlefields.

What is the Combat Free Fall System(CFF)?

  • Across the world, special forces employ combat free fall (CFF), a specific insertion technique. With a full combat load, CFF participants jump out of aircraft at altitudes beyond 30,000 feet. Included in the CFF system are: 
    • An appropriate jumpsuit that contributes to the jumpers’ safety
    • A 30-kilometer parachute glide device for paratroopers
  • Instruments for long-range aerial induction employing the High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) and High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) techniques
  • For big cargo delivery in high-altitude regions, the Indian Army uses CFF. 

What are the benefits for the Indian Army?

  • Improved Training for Special Forces: The VWT provides a safe setting for teaching combat-free fall (CFF) skills to members of the special forces. This improves their abilities and readiness for a variety of tasks, such as airborne operations.
  • Safety and Risk Reduction: The risk involved with actual parachute jumps and free-fall operations is greatly decreased by enabling trainees to hone their free-fall skills within the VWT. Since safety is of the utmost importance, the VWT provides a safer option for training.
  • Savings: Over time, conducting training in a VWT may prove to be more economical. It lessens the requirement for costly, resource-intensive parachute jumps, which are sometimes necessary.
  • Adaptability: Employees with varying skill levels, from novices to experienced teachers and free-fallers, can be accommodated by VWT. This adaptability guarantees that the training requirements of a wide spectrum of people can be efficiently met.
  • standardized training: The Indian Army may create uniform training procedures for CFF skills by incorporating the VWT into the SFTS training curriculum. This will guarantee that all of its special forces units receive training at the same level.


In conclusion, the Indian Army made a calculated strategic decision by installing the VWT at the SFTS to offer a flexible, secure, and regulated environment for improving the combat free-falls and special forces’ abilities. It helps these employees be more prepared and efficient when conducting airborne tasks.