FighterSweep fans, it’s a pretty rare treat for the Indian Air Force to take part in stateside exercises. Because of budgetary considerations, their participation is limited to once every five years. Their participation in 2013 was canceled due to sequestration here, but this year they have returned with their Su-30MKIs. Their arrival has been eagerly awaited.
After flying through Bahrain, Egypt, France, Portugal and Canada, 12 Indian Air Force aircraft, including the Russian origin Su-30 MKI, reached the United States to take part in the prestigious Red Flag air exercise.
The planes, which arrived in Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, will take part in the exercise starting on April 28 and will undertake war games along with NATO forces.
Four each of Sukhois and deep penetration Jaguars, two C-17 transport plans and two mid-air refuellers IL-78 travelled through Bahrain, Egypt, France, Portugal and Canada before finally reaching Alaska.
The air exercise, which will last till May 13, is seen as a complex and advanced network centric operation — the toughest test for flying machines and men.
This is the second time that India is participating in such an exercise after 2008.
Due to high costs, the Indian Air Force had decided to take part in the exercise once every five years. It was scheduled to take part in the 2013 edition but the exercise was cancelled by the US following budget cuts.