NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots are reportedly using ‘authorised’ pills to heighten alertness and cognitive abilities to improve performance during combat exercises.

According to Times of India, the IAF has some new weapons in its armoury. No, they are not hypersonic cruise missiles, nor bunker-bursting ‘smart’ bombs. Instead, they are innocuous looking tablets called ‘Go/No-Go’ pills. And they are said to pack quite a punch. IAF fighter pilots are now increasingly using these “authorised” pills to boost alertness levels and cognitive powers as well as fight fatigue and sleep deprivation during round-the-clock combat exercises as well as long-range sorties designed to hone war-fighting skills.

The ‘Go’ pill is Modafinil, which has gained currency in military aviation circles around the world for its alertness-enhancing and fatigue-managing properties. The ‘No-Go’ pill is Zolpidem, a sedative used to treat insomnia.

In the works for the last three to four years, these pills were used extensively in the highvoltage ‘Livewire’ exercise conducted by IAF from October 31 to November 8, which saw the “activation” of all its 54 airbases across the country.

From fighter and helicopter pilots to air traffic controllers and even the top brass, the Go/No-Go pills were used to “good effect” during Livewire, which was designed to test both offensive and defensive capabilities for a two-front war contingency with “swing forces” being rapidly moved from the western theatre to the eastern one, and vice-versa. “It was a 24×7 exercise to stimulate a war, which requires high adrenaline levels and the ability to push the envelope.