By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Nov 2:
Indian Air Force (IAF) and French Air and Space Force (FASF) are participating in a bilateral exercise- “Garuda VIl”, being held till November12 at Air Force Station Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
In this exercise, being held since October 26, FASF is participating with four Rafale fighter aircraft, one A-330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft and a contingent of 220 personnel. The IAF is participating with Su-30 MKI, Rafale, LCA Tejas and Jaguar fighter aircraft, as well as the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Mi-17 helicopters.
The IAF contingent also includes combat enabling assets like Flight Refuelling Aircraft, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C). This joint exercise will provide a platform for both the countries to enhance operational capability and interoperability, while also sharing best practices, an official statement read.
This is the seventh edition of the bilateral exercise. The first, third and fifth editions were conducted in India in 2003, 2006 and 2014 at Air Force Stations Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), Kalaikunda (West Bengal) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan), respectively. The second, fourth and sixth editions were conducted in France in 2005, 2010 and 2019.
Participation of the IAF and FASF in this exercise will promote professional interaction, exchange of experiences and enhancement of operational knowledge, besides strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
There will be professional interaction, enhancement of operational knowledge, and also exchange of experiences. At the end of this drill, the lessons learnt will help the Air Force to add more teeth to its war waging capabilities. The more such bilateral and multilateral drills the more lessons our forces learn which can be used later, an IAF officer said.