IAF’s Rafale aircraft participate in Red Flag exercise


NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force’s Rafale fighter jets carried out complex missions along with F-16 and F-15 combat aircraft at a multi-nation mega military exercise in Alaska in the US.
The key takeaways from participating in the Red Flag exercise for the IAF included insight on interoperability with international partners and a collaborative understanding of missions in a multinational environment, the defence ministry said on Sunday.
The IAF contingent participated in the exercise from June 4 to 14.
Besides the Indian Air Force (IAF), the exercise witnessed the participation of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), the German Luftwaffe, and the US Air Force (USAF).
“The transatlantic ferry of Rafale fighter aircraft was enabled by the IL-78 air-to-air refuellers while the transportation of personnel and equipment was undertaken by C-17 Globemaster aircraft,” the ministry said.
Red Flag is an air exercise conducted with multiple scenarios designed to provide realistic combat settings.
This was the first time the IAF Rafale aircraft participated in this exercise. The Rafale jets operated alongside F-16 and F-15 aircraft of the RSAF and the USAF respectively.
The missions included Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat exercises as a part of large force engagements (LFE) in offensive counter air-and-air defence roles, the defence ministry said in a statement.
It said the IAF crew members were actively involved in mission planning and also assumed the role of mission leaders for designated missions during the exercise. “In spite of the challenging weather and almost sub-zero temperatures, the IAF maintenance crew worked diligently to ensure serviceability of all the aircraft throughout the duration of the exercise and all assigned missions could be undertaken with more than 100 sorties being flown during the exercise,” the ministry said.
“Key takeaways from the exercise included insight on interoperability with international partners and a collaborative understanding of employment philosophy in a multinational environment,” it said.
“Experience of ferrying long distances, while undertaking air-to-air refuelling enroute, was both an enriching and thrilling takeaway, especially for the younger crew,” it said.
The ministry said undertaking its return journey, the contingent split enroute along with their mutual support elements to participate in exercises with air force elements of Greece and Egypt, before landing back in India on June 24.
“Enriched with the Red Flag exercise experience, the IAF keenly looks forward to hosting the participating contingents from other countries during Ex-Tarang Shakti-2024, which is the first ever Indian multinational air exercise to be held later this year,” it said.

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