Besides the frontline fighter Su-30 MKI taking on the Rafale multirole jets of the Armée de l'Air, Russian Ilyushin IL-76 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane and Il-78 aerial refueling tanker will be deployed in the exercise during Garuda VI exercise. There will be around 150 IAF officers and airmen participating in the exercise.
Indian Air Force (IAF) gets set to depart for the biggest joint air exercise Garuda-VI with Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) in France starting early next month.
According to the IAF, the contingent will be leaving tomorrow for the fortnight-long bilateral exercise from July 1-14 at one the air bases in France. Fighter jets of the two countries will go head-to-head to validate the latest defence strategies and to also fine-tune their capabilities.
This will also give a chance to the IAF to assess their capabilities against the Rafale fighter aircraft which will be joining the service starting September. Besides the frontline fighter Su-30 MKI taking on the Rafale multirole jets of the Armée de l’Air, Russian Ilyushin IL-76 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane and Il-78 aerial refueling tanker will be deployed in the exercise during Garuda VI exercise. There will be around 150 IAF officers and airmen participating in the exercise.
India will soon be getting 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from the French company Dassault Aviation, which as per the deal signed will start coming from September this year and will be forming two squadrons. The first is the Golden Arrows ’17 Squadron in Ambala and the other will be based out of Hashimara in West Bengal.
After intensive tests to validate the Indian specific customization on the fighter jet, the first Rafale will be inducted, and the whole squadron located at Ambala will be completed by 2020.
The sixth edition of the joint air exercise is part of the growing strategic cooperation between the two countries and will offer IAF an opportunity to gain experience and information on operating its existing fleet of Sukhoi Su-30 fighters with the Rafale fighters.
While the previous Garuda exercise was conducted at the Jodhpur airbase in India in 2014, the other four were held in France in 2005 and 2010 at the Istres Air Base on the southern coast of France. This air base in France serves as a testing facility for Dassault Aviation and Snecma, the manufacturer and engine maker of the Rafale respectively.
Garuda is the name given for joint air exercise between India and France, while the army exercise is called Shakti and naval exercise Varuna respectively. Both countries last October agreed to carry out tri-services exercises, involving the three services.