Even as India and the U.S. bolster their military-to-military cooperation and take it to newer levels, India is sending its Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent with 12 aircraft to one of the prestigious simulated military exercises in the world, the Red Flag, for the second time in years. The last time India participated in the event was in 2008.
The Red Flag exercise begins April 28 and ends May 13, and is being held at the Eielson Air Force Base and Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. The exercise will feature aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and that of other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries. The exercise simulates realistic war games and combat manoeuvres.
The exercise is said to be the most complex aerial war games between the IAF aircraft and the U.S. aircraft.
The IAF contingent will include four Su-30 MKIs, air superiority fighter jets, four Jaguars, deep penetration strike aircraft, two C-17 Globemasters, transport aircraft and two Il-78 aircraft, mid-air refuelers. About 150 personnel from the IAF will be participating in the exercise.
The Indian aircraft will travel via Bahrain, Egypt, France, Portugal and Canada before it reaches Alaska, PTI reported.
"The personnel have now assembled at the Jamnagar air base where they will undergo some training schedule. Advanced party will leave shortly and the rest would join them later in the US," an IAF official told PTI.
Due to the high cost involved that of logistics and participation, where India may shell out about Rs. 100 crore for participating in the event, India takes part in the exercise once in five years.
The report noted that India has desisted from taking its advanced aerial early warning aircraft, Phalcon AWACS, for overseas exercises.