Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Thais gear up for Gripen

Thai Air Force technicians and Swedish Air Force instructors in front of a Royal Thai Air Force Gripen during a visit to Saab in Linköping. Photo: Per Kustvik

Training is underway at the Swedish Armed Forces Technical school in Halmstad and will continue until the end of the year. The technical training also includes a On the Job Training (OJT) part at the Swedish Air Force Wings F 7 in Såtenäs and F 17 in Ronneby. As part of their training, technicians spent time at Saab’s Gripen manufacturing hub in Linköping. The technicians’ training programme forms part of Thailand’s 2008 procurement contract for six Gripen fighter jets.

In a parallel initiative, Air Chief Marshal Itthaporn Subhawong, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), met with Lt. Gen. Carlo Gagiano, Chief of the South African Air Force to discuss areas of mutual interest, including Gripen and its introduction into the SAAF. The chiefs met at Air Force Base Makhado, home to South Africa’s Gripen fleet.

The visit also emphasized both countries’ commitment to co-operate and promote bilateral relations.

The RTAF also signed a contract with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to supply it with a Saab 340 AEW Erieye airborne surveillance system and another Saab 340 aircraft for training and transport. They will be delivered in December 2010.

A Euro fighter Typhoon Crashes In Spain

A Saudi Air Force Lieutenant Colonel has been killed when the Euro fighter Typhoon he was flying crashed this morning, local time, at the Moron Air Force Base in Spain. The Spanish pilot managed to eject before the aircraft hit the ground. According to reports, Saudi Arabia had two pilots in Spain to train on the Typhoon, in line with an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Spain.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

SAAB Unveils Thai Air Defence Solutions

At a ceremony at Saab’s factory in Linköping today, Saab unveiled the Thai integrated air defence system for its Thai customer. The ceremony was held to celebrate the contract between Sweden and Thailand.

Many prominent guests attended the event including Commander in Chief, ACM Itthaporn Subhawong from the Royal Thai Air force, Gunnar Holmgen, General Director for the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) and Åke Svensson, CEO, for Saab.

The Royal Thai Air Force has procured an integrated air defence system with Gripen C/D, the ERIEYE airborne early warning system and a Command and Control C2 system including data link communication. In combination with bilateral Co-operation mainly focused on technology transfer, this will provide Thailand with the foundation for an advanced network based defence system.

The Royal Thai Air Force will receive six of the latest version Gripen C/D multirole fighter aircraft at the beginning of 2011. One ERIEYE Airborne Early Warning radar system aboard a Saab 340 aircraft and one additional Saab 340 aircraft will be delivered in December 2010. One Command and Control C2 system including equipment for three ground based Radio sites will be delivered in March 2011.

The first Thai Gripen aircraft made its maiden flight on 16 September 2009 and Thai pilots, technicians and aviation mechanics responsible for maintenance and support of the aircraft have started their training at the Armed Force Technical School (Air Force) in Halmstad and at F7 Såtenäs.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Green Hornet to take Flight on Earth Day

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy will demonstrate the 'Green Hornet,' an F/A-18 Super Hornet powered by a 50/50 biofuel blend, on Earth Day, April 22, at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., as part of its Energy Strategy.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has made energy independence a top priority for the Department of the Navy (DoN), and the 'Green Hornet' flight is an important step in the certification and ultimate operational use of biofuels by the Navy and Marine Corps.

The 'Green Hornet' initiative supports Mabus' energy reform targets, which will increase warfighting capability by reducing reliance on fossil fuels from unstable locations and reducing volatility associated with long fuel supply transport lines. The secretary's energy reform targets include:

- By 2016, the Navy will sail a "Great Green Fleet" composed of nuclear ships, surface combatants with hybrid electric power systems using biofuel and aircraft flying on only biofuels.

- By 2020, at least half of the DoN's shore-based energy requirements will come from alternative sources and half of total DoN energy consumption will come from alternative sources.

"[The flight] will demonstrate that our systems can work on biofuel," Mabus said in his remarks at a recent energy forum at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md. "After it is successful, and we are absolutely confident that it will be; we will move to expand biofuel testing to our marine gas turbine engines and to the engines of our tactical vehicles."

The biofuel blend to be used in the Super Hornet is derived from the camelina sativa plant, which is a U.S.-grown, renewable, non-food source. The objective of the Navy's biofuel test flight program is to confirm there is no difference in performance between the biofuel blend derived from the camelina plant and standard petroleum-based JP-5. The Navy's ultimate goal is to develop protocols to certify alternative fuels for use in Naval Tactical systems.

The Navy Fuels Lab at NAVAIR Patuxent River, Md., will develop certification requirements for a variety of biofuel sources, including chemical properties, material compatibility, component and propulsion system performance and weapon system performance.

The Defense Energy Support Center, which oversees procurement of biofuel for the Navy, recently awarded a $2.7 million contract to Sustainable Oils of Seattle and Bozeman, Mont. for 40,000 gallons of the camelina-based fuel.

Mabus, as well as energy and environmental leaders from throughout the Department of the Navy, are scheduled be in attendance at the Earth Day flight demonstration. Distinguished visitors will have technical briefs and a tour before the flight demonstration, and will meet the aircraft's pilot immediately after.

"We are a better Navy and a better Marine Corps for innovation; we have led the world in the adoption of new energy strategies in the past," Mabus said at the Naval Energy Forum last year, when he announced his energy reform targets. "This is our legacy."

Green Hornet is an environmental and energy concept that reaches beyond the element of alternative fuels and encompasses efforts ranging from operational and policy through technology research and development. Examples of these efforts range from more energy efficient aircraft refueling policies implemented by the fleet at the Navy's master jet bases, to ongoing research and development efforts by NAVAIR and General Electric to evaluate more fuel efficient engine components. These engine improvements are designed to reduce the Specific Fuel Consumption (SFC) for the F414 (F/A-18E/F Super Hornet) engine. The Super Hornet is Naval Aviation's largest fuel consumer.

For more news, visit www.navy.mil.

Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle Fires AMRAAM Missile

Air Force News, Missiles & Bombs News — By Boeing Company on July 22, 2010

ST. LOUIS --- The Boeing Company successfully launched a missile from the F-15 Silent Eagle's newly designed Conformal Weapons Bay (CWB) on July 14. Demonstration aircraft F-15E1 departed from Point Mugu Naval Air Weapon Station, Calif., at 5:59 p.m Pacific time, launched an inert AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) from its left-side CWB, and returned to base at 6:52 p.m.

The test demonstrated the CWB's flightworthiness and ability to deploy an AMRAAM in flight with no adverse effect on the performance of the aircraft or the CWB itself.

"I've been flying F-15s for more than 20 years, but this flight was different from all others," said Boeing F-15 Chief Test Pilot Dan Draeger. "This first launch of an AMRAAM from the F-15's internal weapons bay opens a new era for the F-15 and for strike fighter capability in the dominance of the F-15 Eagle.

"The F-15, CWB and missile performed exactly as we predicted," Draeger continued. "The Silent Eagle continues the F-15's role as the most versatile strike fighter aircraft ever built."

F-15E1 made its first flight with a CWB from Lambert St. Louis International Airport on July 8. The CWB, which carried an AIM-120 Instrumented Test Vehicle (ITV), was successfully opened and closed during that 80-minute flight, validating Boeing's design approach.

"The F-15SE's internal carriage CWBs will significantly increase tactical options for international customers while retaining all the cost-certain, battle-proven capability of the Strike Eagle," said Roger Besancenez, F-15 Program vice president for Boeing.

The Silent Eagle is an innovative design solution developed in response to international customer requirements for a cost-effective, high-performance fighter aircraft to defend against future threats. Using a modular design approach, the F-15SE offers unique aerodynamic, avionic and Radar Cross Section (RCS)-reduction features that provide the user with maximum flexibility to dominate the ever-changing advanced threat environment. RCS reductions include treatments to the aircraft (based on U.S. government policy).

The F-15SE CWBs can carry a variety of air-to-air missiles, such as the AIM-9 and AIM-120, and air-to-ground weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition and Small Diameter Bomb. The Silent Eagle's CWBs can be easily removed, and the aircraft can be rapidly reconfigured into the combat-proven external carriage/conformal fuel tank load-out based on mission requirements.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Aircraft deals with ‘friend’ Russia costing dear

17 August, 2010, DNA News
By Suman Sharma | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

With an astronomical 155% increase in price in three years, the Russian Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft seem to be going the Gorshkov way.

The deal for aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov was hammered in 2004 for $974 million (Rs4,560 crore), but it was renegotiated in 2010 at $2.3 billion (Rs10,770 crore).

After the Indian Air Force (IAF) wrote to the ministry of defence expressing concern at its depleting strength and pressing for immediate purchase of 40 Sukhois-30s under the fast-track provision, which does not warrant tendering or open competition, a deal was inked with Russia in 2007 for $1.6 billion (Rs7,490 crore), that is $40 million (Rs190 crore) a piece.

Latest figures tabled in parliament, however, show that another deal for 40 + 2 Sukhois (2 are replacements for aircraft that crashed last year), to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) under licence from the Russian Federation’s Irkutsk, has been struck for $4.3 billion (Rs20,125 crore), that is $102 million (Rs480 crore) a piece.

The latest deal will make the IAF inventory 270-strong and India the largest operator of Sukhois by 2018, when HAL is to deliver the aircraft.

But the escalation in cost cannot be justified, especially since the aircraft being manufactured by HAL do not have enhanced features, such as the AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar. Defence experts, in fact, are of the view that since the assembly line is in Bangalore, where HAL is based, the latest deal should have cost less.

The deal becomes even more loss-making since American fifth-generation fighter aircraft, F-35, manufactured by Lockheed Martin are priced at $100 million (Rs470 crore) a piece. F-35, an advanced stealth fighter with features such as supercruise and AESA radar, competes with fourth-generation fighters, such as Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Rafale, in Norway and Denmark for deals.

The American F-16, again made by Lockheed Martin, is competing in India for IAF’s fighter jet deal with Typhoon and Rafale.
IAF already has these four-plus generation fighters, which are awaiting clearance for upgrade in a separate deal involving Irkutsk and HAL.

The “deep upgrade” will include enhanced combat features, systems and avionics, which would increase the flight performance and keep the aircraft in service for a longer duration. The biggest feature of the “deep upgrade” is the inclusion of the AESA radars replacing the passive radars in IAF Sukhois.

The twin-engine heavy-weight Sukhoi entered IAF service in 2000 after clearance in 1997, but has not undergone any upgrade since.

(All currency conversions are based on current rate and are approximate)

IAF to receive all six C-130J airlifters in 2011

13 August, 2010, ZEENEWS.COM

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will receive the first two C-130J special operations aircraft from the United States in February 2011 and the remaining four ordered by the end of the year.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik told India Strategic defence magazine (www.indiastrategic.in) in an interview that the IAF was giving equal importance to the acquisition of combat and transport aircraft as part of the "transformation process" now underway and that the infrastructure to operate the C-130Js from the Hindon airbase near the Indian capital was nearing completion.

The IAF and the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) had signed an agreement with the US Air Force (USAF) and Department of Defense (DoD) to buy six Lockheed Martin C-130Js in January 2008 in a package deal of around $1 billion.

There is an option to buy an additional six aircraft, without any cost escalation, but Naik said that while the IAF was considering this, a decision was likely after the first C-130Js would be received.

"We will see them, and then exercise the option," India Strategic quotes him as saying in its coming edition.

The US government is selling the aircraft under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, through the USAF.

According to Lockheed Martin, all the six aircraft are under various stages of construction. A picture of three of them being built has already been released while one C-130J has been painted in IAF colours and is undergoing pre-delivery flying tests.

The C-130J is a multirole airlifter with night landing capability from football field-sized air strips and battlefields.

The IAF's C-130Js will also be equipped with a midair refuelling probe.

The USAF and DoD are involved in overseeing the fulfilment of contractual obligations by Lockheed Martin, and at present, 10 IAF pilots are undergoing training as part of the support package. Eight more will be sent shortly.

Naik said that all aircraft now come with their simulators and support and training packages. There is renewed emphasis on training and safety, both of which are crucial for mission success.

On an earlier occasion, the air chief has observed that mission succes means destruction of an enemy and safe return of own aircraft and pilots.


Onus on HAL to Speed Up Su-30 MKI Production

11 August, 2010, AviationWeek.com

By Anantha Krishnan M.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) will have to step up Su-30MKI production at its Nasik facility following the announcement for 42 more fighters being ordered from Russia.

“The ball is now in HAL’s court and it needs to speed-up the delivery of the current order so as to take the additional load,” a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) official told AVIATION WEEK. HAL has been told to complete the ongoing Su-30MKI blocks (under the compressed schedule) by 2015 at all costs. “There are concerns expressed by us time and again and we are watching the progress at the other end,” the official said.

When asked to explain what the IAF “concerns” were, the official declined to elaborate.

Sources in HAL said that the overall production rate of Su-30MKI during the current financial year is falling far behind expectations.

The IAF already have inducted more than 110 Sukhois (out of original 230 aircraft) and the additional 42 would take the total strength to 272 (Aerospace DAILY, Aug. 11). The IAF fleet has been steadily declining the last few years. It is operating with 32 fighter squadrons, short of the approved 39.5, and fleet strength could dip to 27 by 2017.

Indian defense minister A.K. Antony told the Indian Parliament that the Su-30MKIs would be delivered to the IAF during 2014-2018. The IAF currently operates five Su-30 squadrons, with three in Pune and two in Bareilly. Two more squadrons are likely to come up in Halwara (Punjab), Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Tezpur, Chabua (Assam). The fighter will soon carry a version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

The Sukhois are built under license at HAL’s five Divisions (Nasik, Koraput, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Korwa) and are later assembled, integrated, test-flown and delivered from Nasik. Fifty Sukhois initially came directly from Russia between 2002 and 2005. All of these divisions will be participating in the raw material phase of manufacturing the new Sukhois.

RED FLAG'10-4 (Part-3)

Green Flag-West 10-09 begins Aug. 8.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Southern Nevada and Southern California residents will see increased military aircraft activity as the U.S. Air Force hosts exercise Green Flag-West 10-09 from Aug. 8-19.

Aircraft will depart from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., twice daily for missions at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. Flying will take place Sunday through Friday both weeks. Takeoffs are scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. with flights Air to Air Refueling and landing around 5:00pm then taking off again at 7:30 p.m. to land around 10:30 p.m. The exercise flight path includes areas within Las Vegas valley, near Mount Charleston, and north of Pahrump in Nevada; as well the Mojave Desert near Fort Irwin in both Inyo and San Bernardino Counties in California.

This is the first Green Flag exercise for the Pakistani Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force. Their participation increases the interoperability between air forces and the ability to safely execute Close Air Support. Units from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps regularly participate in this exercise, which takes place 10 times annually and involves anywhere from 6,000 to 9,000 troops on the ground at the NTC in addition to aircraft overhead.

Green Flag-West's realistic air-land integration and employment training prepares U.S. and allied nations for deployment and modern Close Air Support combat operations worldwide. Aircraft work out of the 549th Combat Training Squadron at Nellis while the Air Force's Battlefield Airmen work out of the 12th Combat Training Squadron at Fort Irwin.

Green Flag-West provides a large-scale training opportunity that is similar to what can be found in Afghanistan and Iraq. Joint Terminal Attack Controllers imbedded with the Army on the ground direct aircraft to provide CAS via low passes, strafing and dropping bombs on targets or providing armed escort to convoys through the 1,000-square-mile National Training Center.

Aircraft and squadrons participating in Green Flag-West 10-09 include the Pakistan Air Force's F-16s; the Royal Saudi Air Force flying F-15Ss; the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron from Nellis AFB, Nev., flying F-16s and F-15Es; the 319th Air Refueling Wing from Grand Forks AFB, N.D. flying KC-135Rs; the Civil Air Patrol's Clark County Squadron located at the North Las Vegas Airport flying C-182Qs; the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron JTACs from Fort Riley, Kansas and USMC Anglico JTACS from Camp Lejune, North Carolina.

RED FLAG'10-4 (Part-2)

Pakistan Air Force Trains at Nellis AFB

LAJES FIELD, Azores (AFNS) -- It took six days and four stops for six Pakistan Air Force pilots to fly six F-16Bs over 7,700 miles from Mushaf Air Base in northern Pakistan to Las Vegas to fly and train in Red Flag 10-4 and Green Flag 10-9 exercises at Nellis AFB.

Approximately 100 maintenance, support and aircrew personnel arrived here in mid-July and have already completed the intense two-week Red Flag exercise, which concentrates on large force combat employment.

"Red Flag has given the PAF the opportunity to deploy its assets and personnel around the world," said Group Captain Javad Saeed, the Pakistan Detachment commander. "It has also provided a contemporary air combat training environment for our less experienced aircrew members."

The PAF flew 57 air interdiction sorties in 12 days. "For PAF to participate in Red Flag, it required training and proficiency on air-to-air refueling operations," Captain Saeed said. The PAF, with U.S. Air Force support, was able to gain that proficiency and refuel 50 times for a total transfer of 110,900 pounds of jet fuel.

The captain said deploying to Nellis has given them the opportunity to interact and operate in a joint environment, allowing every person, unit and nation involved to learn from each other. He added that Red Flag provides a rich training environment shaped by different professional forces and nations.

Red Flag 10-4 had personnel from 16 different countries, including units from Pakistan, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. Also participating was a NATO unit from Germany and U.S. Navy, Marines and Air Force units.

"The Pakistan Air Force's participation in this world-class exercise helps to build international air force cooperation, interoperability and mutual support," said Vice Adm. Michael LeFever, the U.S. Defense representative to Pakistan.
"The participation, together in this exercise, is not only valuable but also essential in that allied forces are the key to success," said Col. Don Godier, 20th Fighter Wing vice commander and Air Expeditionary Wing commander for Red Flag.

Captain Saeed said that Pakistan's participation in Red Flag was useful, adding that he felt the best thing was the debriefing methodology and the tools used to bring out valid lessons.

The Pakistan Air Force didn't leave after Red Flag but is staying for an additional three weeks in order to participate in Green Flag 10-9. Green Flag runs from Aug. 8-19 and is an exercise that focuses on close air support of ground troops. Joint terminal attack controllers working on the ground talk to pilots flying overhead and direct them in to provide close air support on the 1,000-square-mile National Training Center near Fort Irwin, Calif.

"Pakistan and the U.S. have participated in normally scheduled exercises since 2006," said Capt. Lisa Spilinek, chief of media operations for U.S. Air Force Central Command Public Affairs. "These exercises are designed to improve U.S. and Pakistani interoperability, enhance security relationships and demonstrate U.S. resolve to support the security and humanitarian interests of our friends and allies in the region."

"The Green Flag exercise will be a new experience for us... something new that we are looking forward to as a whole," Captain Saeed said. "Participating in both exercises gives us an opportunity to understand each other culturally and professionally, which is crucial for forces and nations dependent on each other, working for common objectives."

These unique exercises allow the U.S. and Pakistan the opportunity to enhance air force interoperability and show mutual support. By coming to Nellis to participate in Red Flag 10-4, both air forces' personnel have improved their skills and worked with and learned from one another. Green Flag 10-9 will provide the opportunity for continued growth.

RED FLAG'10-4 (Part-1)

Lajes Field Airmen support Pakistan air force on deployment to exercise

LAJES FIELD, Azores (AFNS) -- On their way to the U.S. to sharpen their close-air-support skills, six F-16 fighter jets from Pakistan and their crew members stopped at here July 14 through 15 before heading to a Red Flag exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

About 100 Pakistan air force pilots, maintainers and support personnel, accompanied by a U.S. tanker, are attending Red Flag, a premier, large force employment and integration exercise.

Airmen of the 65th Operations Support Squadron here were on standby and ready to foster bilateral relations with the international delegates.

"This visit to Lajes is historic to us and the Pakistan crew, because we are hosting them here for the first time," said Tech. Sgt. Jose Ramon, a coronet liaison technician with the 65th OSS. "It is also very crucial in the career of the Pakistan (airmen) since it is their first deployment to the exercise. By welcoming and giving them world-class support, we are ensuring that their short stay here is a wonderful and lasting experience."

Airmen here ensured the crew's billeting, locker and food arrangements were made. They quickly dispersed the necessary aerospace ground equipment support the jets needed, such as jet fuel and lavatory services, among others.

"We did everything we could to make their stay here a memorable one," Sergeant Ramon said.

Sergeant Ramon said that since Lajes Field is the stopping point for smaller aircraft trying to make it across the Atlantic Ocean, Airmen here have a sense of urgency and readiness and they "make it happen."

"In no time, we took the jets off the runway and showed them where to park," said Staff Sgt. Sean McGrath, a 65th OSS transient alert team member.

While some Airmen of the transient alert team, who are mostly crew chiefs, said they see this visit as an opportunity to do what they are trained to do. Some said it allows them to interact with the military of other nations while stationed at Lajes.

"Dealing with international air force members, even though there could be a complete culture difference, is very exciting because it creates an avenue for us to find a common ground to communicate and learn from each other," Sergeant Ramon said. "Such a visit helps us to learn from what they do best and for them to see how we do business."

Making sure the pilots and their crew members want to keep coming back is a goal of the 65th OSS Airmen.

"We'd like crew that pass through Lajes (Field) to know that our service here is first-class," said Maj. Robert Sweeney, the 65th OSS director of operations. "We would also like them to come back here knowing that they will be well taken care of, no matter what time of the day, the weather and where they are going . Whether they are heading to the States or overseas toward deployments or their countries, we would want them to feel like this could be a second home for them."

India to get 57 more Hawk jet trainers for Rs 9,400 crore

India to get 57 more Hawk jet trainers for Rs 9,400 crore

25 July, 2010, TNN, TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: With British PM David Cameron slated to come visiting next week, India is getting all set to order another 57 British Hawk AJTs (advanced jet trainers) in a project worth around Rs 9,400 crore.

As reported by TOI earlier, this will be "a follow-on" order to the ongoing Rs 8,000-crore AJT project, finalized in March 2004 with BAE Systems, under which IAF is already getting 66 Hawk AJTs.

The AJT project has been dogged by some controversy, hit as the Hawks were by the disruption in the supply of some spares from BAE Systems. But the glitches seem to have been ironed out now.

As per the original contract, while IAF received 24 of the twin-seater trainers in "flyaway condition" from BAE Systems, the other 42 are being progressively manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd under transfer of technology.

The Navy will get 17 of the 57 new Hawks, which will also be manfactured by HAL, for its own aircraft carrier-based fighter training. Towards this, Navy inked a Rs 3,042-crore deal with HAL on Friday. "We will get the delivery over 36 months from 2013 onwards," said a Navy officer.

The Hawks already inducted at the Bidar airbase are being used to train rookie IAF pilots on the intricacies of combat fighter jet flying.

The AJTs help the young pilots to bridge the quantum jump from flying sub-sonic aircraft like HPT-32 and Kiran trainers to directly handling the supersonic 'highly-unforgiving' MiG-21s, without any transitional training to improve inadequate flying skills as was the norm earlier.

Apart from their sheer usefulness in training rookie pilots, the Hawks can also be used as ground attack or air defence aircraft in times of war, capable as they are of carrying 6,800 pounds of weapons, rockets, bombs and air-to-air missiles.

GARUDA'10 (Part-3)

The Republic of Singapore Air Force is also participating in the Ex-Garuda for the first time with the F-16 Aircraft. The French Air Force assets such as the mid air refueller, Mirage 2000s and Rafael Aircraft have commenced their participation in the exercise.

(Some Unseen Photo's of Garuda'10)

By Shaktiraj

GARUDA'10 (Part-2)

The Indo-French Air Exercise began today at Istres Air Base in Southern France. The fourth round of Air Exercise ‘GARUDA’ which began today would conclude on 25 of Jun 2010.

During the Ex Garuda, the Indian Air Force and French Air Force would be engaged in various missions ranging from close combat, engagement of large forces, slow mover protection, and protecting and engagement of High Value Aerial Assets. According to the contingent commander of IAF, Gp Capt J Mishra, “The focus of the Air Exercise is learning from each other’s best practices. The Air Defence Operations would be central to our various maneuvers. These would take place in AWACS and non-AWACS environment. The intensity of the exercise would be gradually increased throughout its duration so that we learn and absorb maximum from the exercise”.

During the exercise the IAF’s Special Forces ‘Garuds’ would also be proactively participating and shall be carrying out jumps along with the French Special Forces. The IL-76 aircraft which is an integral part of the exercise flying missions, would practise static line drops with the French Special Forces. It may be recalled that the IAF is participating with Six SU-30 MKIs, Three IL-78s and one IL-76 Aircraft.

The entire IAF contingent arrived at the Istres Air Force Base on 12 Jun 2010 by 1215 hrs local time. The Istres Air Base is a large base located near Istres, North of Marseille in the Bouches-du-Rhone department, France. The base houses some of the world’s finest fighters and helicopters and serves multiple functions, including a repair facility and training grounds. The landing strip of this airbase is said to be the longest in Europe. The Istres Air Base was built before the world War II and has been of immense historical and operational importance.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force is also participating in the Ex-Garuda for the first time with the F-16 Aircraft. The French Air Force assets such as the mid air refueller, Mirage 2000s and Rafael Aircraft have commenced their participation in the exercise.

GARUDA'10 (Part-1)


An IAF contingent of 230 Air Warriors was flagged off from Air Force Station Bareilly by Air Marshal S Varthaman, Senior Air Staff Officer, Central Air Command at a formal ceremony today. The IAF contingent would be taking part in Exercise Garuda scheduled from 14 Jun to 25 Jun 2010, at Istres Air Base, France.

The IAF assets taking part in exercise include 06 Sukhoi - 30 MKIs Air Dominance fighter aircraft , 03 Ilushin - 78 Flight Refueller Aircraft & 01 Ilushin – 76 Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft. The SU-30 MKIs would be taking part in an exercise in France for the first time.
Earlier SU-30 KAs had participated. Also a team of Garud Special Forces would be taking part in Exercise Garuda for the first time.

Addressing the contingent members at the flagging off ceremony Air Mshl Varthaman said “Indeed it is a proud & privileged honour for him to bid the team good flying & happy landings. We have prepared well for last 6 to 8 months and I am sure you will excel with your professionalism. So fly safe, fly well, make friends, win hearts & touch the sky with glory.”

At the Exercise Garuda the French Air Force would be participating with their Mirage 2000s & Rafael Aircraft. It should also be noted that the Republic of Singapore Air Force would also be participating in Ex-Garuda with their F-16 Block 52 Aircraft.

Gp Capt J Mishra is the Team Leader under whose supervision the IAF contingent would perform in France. Gp Capt NN Sinha of IAF would be the Exercise Director, who would be planning, coordinating & executing different aspects of the flying & ground maneuvers at Ex Garuda.

A joint exercise of this nature enhances mutual operational understanding. It also refines the procedural aspects and provides for tremendous learning experience, for all the participating Air Forces. It also enables the operators to understand each other’s capability. Exercise Garuda continues to enhance & cement the close military ties between the Indian and the French Air Forces.