Exercise Eastern Bridge: Different aircraft of two Air Forces carry out manoeuvres over Oman desert

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Published: October 29, 2019 4:27:52 PM

The Russian MiG-29 UPG is a modern multi-role fighter aircraft of IAF and has air-to-air & air-to-ground capability, which is coupled with Air-to-air Refuelling.

Exercise Eastern Bridge, Indian Air Force, RAFO, American Lockheed Martin, F-16, Typhoon, Hawk, RKS Bhadauria, RAFO AFB ThumraitAccording to the IAF, such drills offer operational exposure to all participating Air Forces of different countries and helps in mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing operational capability but also in understanding of different machines. (Photo source: IAF)

Over the desert skies in Oman, for the first time the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) MiG-29 UPG (Upgrade) aircraft exercised along with Royal Air Force Oman’s (RAFO) advanced trainer aircraft `Hawk’ of the UK based BAE System, American Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and the European Eurofighter `Typhoon’.

The Russian MiG-29 UPG is a modern multi-role fighter aircraft of IAF and has air-to-air & air-to-ground capability, which is coupled with Air-to-air Refuelling.

The IAF & RAFO have been participating in biennial Exercise Eastern Bridge regularly and Oman was the first country in the Gulf region to start joint exercises with the Indian Armed forces.

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According to the IAF, such drills offer operational exposure to all participating Air Forces of different countries and helps in mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing operational capability but also in understanding of different machines.

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As has been reported earlier, the first edition of the exercise was conducted at RAFO AFB Thumrait back in 2009, followed by the second edition in 2011 & fourth edition in 2017, being conducted at the Air Force Station, Jamnagar. And it was for the first time during the fourth edition that RAFO’s F-16 fighter aircraft participated in a drill outside Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). And the third edition in 2013 was conducted at RAFO AFB Masirah, Oman.

Ex Eastern Bridge-V was conducted at RAFO AFB Masirah, Oman from 17 Oct- 26 and the IAF team was led by Group Captain Brijesh Paul, and there were five MiG-29 Upgrade multi-role fighter aircraft and the transport support for induction & de-induction was provided by two American C-17 Globemaster aircraft.

Towards the end of the exercise the IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria visited Oman and met Air vice Marshal Matar Bin Ali Al Obaidani, Commander RAFO at RAFO base Masirah and interacted with both the contingents.

The idea behind such drills is to promote interoperability through an exchange of knowledge & experience, along with tactical lessons to be drawn as the exercise progressed and to also under the different terrain and weather conditions.

Oman has recently opened up its most critical Port Duqm for providing military and logistical support for the Indian ships.

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