Friday, October 22, 2010

Ex-Indradhanush: Indo-UK air exercise enters third day [DAY-3]

Kolkata: As the Indo-UK joint air exercise ‘Indradhanush' entered its third day on Friday, the degree of difficulty kept on increasing for the participating pilots – giving the younger ones a chance to hone their skills and the seniors to brush-up their expertise.

The Indo-UK joint flying mission started on Wednesday at the Kalaikunda Air Force base in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district after two days of elaborate briefings on standard operating procedures and familiarisation of the local flying area.

According to a Defence spokesperson, protecting ‘high-value aerial assets' from being hunted down by the enemy was the objective of the Friday's mission.

Aerial assets

Mid-air refuellers – crucial for in-flight refuelling of fighter aircraft during operations – are considered high-value aerial assets since its longevity in the air assures the duration of an operation.

Fighter jets generally carry a higher ratio of ammunitions than fuel of its overload weight and need to refuel mid-air as the limited fuel in their tanks exhaust fast.

The Royal Air Force has fielded VC-10 mid-air refuellers for the flying exercise. Apart from them, Typoon Euro-fighters and E 3 D Sentry aircraft of the RAF and SU-30 MKIs, Mirage 2000s, Mig 27s and an AWACS Phalcon have been engaged in the mission.

While flying exercises will remain suspended over the weekend, defence sources said that operations from Monday will include difficulties like radar denial and large force engagement.

Large force engagement entails a number of aircraft operating together as well as against each other in limited time and space - putting the skills of the pilots and the fighter controllers to test.

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