The mission of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, lasted some thirty months and the statistics tell it all: some 70,000 sorties were flown by the IAF's transport and helicopter force to and within Sri Lanka, without a single aircraft lost or mission aborted. In support of nearly 100,000 troops and paramilitary forces, IAF An32s maintained a continuous air link from air bases in Southern India to Divisional headquarters at Palaly (Jaffna), Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, transporting men, equipment, rations and evacuating casualties on the outbound flights, No. 19 Squadron being the main formation involved. Earlier, during the massive build up in the Jaffna peninsula in October 1987, the IAF carried out more transport and helicopter sorties in support of the ground forces in action than at any such concentrated space and time in thehistoryofthearmed forces of India. In 20 days, some 3000 tactical transport and assault helicopter sorties were carried out during the bitter fighting to disarm the LTTE as a key proviso of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord.
Mi-8S of Nos. 109 and 119 Helicopter Units operated to scores of scattered helipads throughout the Northern and Eastern provinces, becoming the critical lifeline for the field forces as well as providing air transportation to Sri Lankan civil administration during the elections. Mi-25s of No. 125 H.U. were utilised to provide suppressive fire against militant strong points and to interdict coastal and clandestine riverine traffic.