Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Eastern Bridge – II: Indo Oman Air Exercise – Eastern Bridge – II Concludes at Jamnagar
A four day joint exercise between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) concluded today at Air Force Station Jamnagar. The exercise, named “Ex Eastern Bridge - 2011” marks the second of the series, the first was held in Oct 2009 wherein six IAF Jaguars had operated at RAFO Thumrait, Oman. It is the first time that the RAFO Jaguars have participated in a Joint exercise held in India.
The RAFO contingent comprised of six Jaguar aircraft and 115 personnel. The IAF’s Jaguars and MiG 29s based at Jamnagar have participated in the exercise.
RAFO Jaguars had ferried in directly from Thumrait and landed at Jamnagar. Two years back when the IAF contingent visited Oman, their Omani counterparts had expressed keen interest and desire to fly over Indian terrain which has a vast variation quite unlike the Omani flatbed desert. After having flown from Air Force Station Jamnagar, they would understand the challenges the IAF routinely encounters flying over the varying Indian landscape with deserts to the North and dense vegetation and hills towards South Gujrat.
After the familiarization of RAFO contingent with local flying operational procedures at the base, the exercise commenced on 17 Oct 2011. The 04 day long exercise involved a variety of flying missions from each other’s best practices in terms of operational, maintenance and administrative procedures. The exercise gave vast exposure to the aircrew of RAFO and IAF, towards missions involving long duration sorties with in flight refueling, large force strike packages, air to ground bombing and maritime strike roles routinely performed by the IAF both independently and in mixed operations.
This exercise did not only enrich the IAF and RAFO professionally but culturally also as the Omani people and Indians share a similar culture. The Ex provided an opportunity of rich interaction between the personnel of both countries. Veterans of EX- Eastern Bridge-I in 2009 also got a chance to meet old friends from RAFO. This has strengthen the bond between the Air Forces, IAF and RAFO.
At the culmination of the exercise an informal social interaction and a friendly football match between the teams of the participating contingents have been played with an aim to enhance mutual understanding and bonhomie. The Omani’s have shown a fondness for Indian cuisine and have especially liked the Khakras, samosas and Dhoklas.