Rabu, Juni 09, 2010

Sukhoi fighters to fly in India-France exercise

India is sending its frontline Sukhoi fighter jets to France for a joint air exercise to be held in the European country next week.

Besides six Su-30MKI fighter jets, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is sending three Ilushin-78 flight re-fueller aircraft and one Ilushin-76 heavy lift transport plane for the exercise Garuda that will be held at the Istres air base in France June 14-25, an IAF spokesperson here said.

This is the first time Su-30MKI fighter jets of the IAF would participate in an exercise in France, he said.

The IAF contingent of 230 air warriors was flagged Monday off for the event by Central Air Command Senior Air and Staff Officer Air Marshal S. Varthaman from air base here.

The French and Indian air forces will be joined by the Singapore Air Force with its American-origin Block 52 F-16s for the Garuda series of exercises that were started in 2003 aimed at enhancing military ties between the two countries.

The French Air Force will field for the exercise its Mirage 2000 and Rafael fighters - a contender for the IAF's 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft tenders worth $11 billion.

'A joint exercise of this nature enhances mutual operational understanding. It also refines the procedural aspects and provides for tremendous learning experience for all the participating air forces. It also enables the operators to understand each other's capability,' the spokesperson said.

Group Captain J. Mishra is the team leader under whose supervision the IAF contingent would perform in France and Group Captain N.N. Sinha would be the exercise director, who would be planning, coordinating and executing different aspects of the flying and ground manoeuvres during the exercise.

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