Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ex-Indradhanush: Indo-UK joint air exercise begin at Kalaikunda [DAY-1]

Kolkata, Oct 20 (PTI) Indian Air Force's frontline Su-30 MKI fighter jets and Eurofighter Typhoons of the Royal Air Force today began a 17-day wargames codenamed 'Ex-Indradhanush' at the Kalaikunda airbase in West Bengal.The RAF has also deployed its AWACS (E-3D) and Air to Air refuellers (VC-10) along with the Typhoons, while the IAF's AWACS participated for the first time with any country.Also taking part were IAF's Mirage 2000s and Mig27s.

A Defence Ministry release here said that the assets would be combined with the aircrew and divided into the blue and red forces."The red forces are the aggressors, while blue forces are the defending side," it said.The roles of the participants were changed throughout the exercise as also the degree of difficulty by random denial of mid-air refuelling and radar silence.The major highlight of the exercise was the large number of aircraft operating together and against each other in limited time and space putting the skills of pilots and fighter controllers to test, the release said.Air Marshal L K Malhotra of the Eastern Air Command who met the participants said "apart from the pilots flying these missions, it is an excellent opportunity for the controllers who would be either controlling these missions or will be on board AWACS aircraft as observers."

On the technical side there would be a number of areas where both sides could learn from each others' maintenance practices, procedures and management of resources supporting flying operations.He urged the participants to make full use of the opportunity and wished them a 'happy hunting'.The exercise concludes on November three. "Kalaikunda has the necessary infrastructure which is necessary for an international exercise of this magnitude," Commander of the Air Force base at Kalaikunda, Air Commodore D K Vashist said. Operationally the station had the environment conducive for flying and the airspace was fully available for such large force engagements, he said. "The aim of the exercise is to enhance mutual understanding and refine procedures. During this exercise, specific emphasis will be laid on exposing the controllers (ATC & AWACS) to large force engagements and protection of high value aerial assets," he said. Another area of emphasis would be the management of logistical needs to move large forces from one part of the world to another.

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