New Delhi: India is all set to participate in Exercise Red Flag, an advanced aerial combat training exercise of the US Air Force, in Alaska with the main conduct phase set to start on May 3, an official statement said on Friday.
The ‘work up’ phase concluded April 27. The team was “able to systematically achieve all the objectives laid down for this phase” and “is shaping up well to participate in the Main Conduct Phase”, it said.
Red Flag-Alaska is a 10-day air combat training exercise of the US Air Force which is held up to four times a year. It is designed to create a war like situation, and prepares pilots for real war situations.
IAF said the Indian team, which comprises of four Sukhoi 30-MKI fighters, and four Jaguars, flew for a variety of missions during the work-up phase, termed as ‘Distant Frontier’.
The team that took off from Jamnagar on April 3, also has two military transport C17 Globemasters, and two IL 78 mid-air refuellers.
The Indian team adopted a philosophy of ‘Crawl, Walk & Run’, signifying a progressive build up in the effort, pace and complexities of training sorties that were flown through the Work-up phase, the statement said.
The intent during the distant frontier phase was to expose the participating members, especially aircrew, to an international environment and familiarize them with local flying procedures, radio telephony terminologies, NATO Brevity codes and airspace and environmental peculiarities. It is noteworthy that the local F-16 aggressor squadron has appreciated the performance of the Indian Air Force crew in the multiple missions conducted so far.
Eielson air force base, where the contingent is presently deployed, is located 26 miles south east of Fairbanks town and it boasts of having one of the best operating environment in the US.
The base houses the elite 18th aggressor squadron of USAF, which is flying the F-16 aircraft. In addition, the base also has a KC-135 squadron and the Air National Guard element apart from other facilities, it said.
For the main exercise, the IAF fighters will be fielded alongside the best of US Air Force and US Navy, which will include the F-22, F-16, F-15 and F-18 fighter jets.
As part of the operational support platforms IAF’s IL-78 and US’ KC-135 FR will also be deployed.