Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eastern Bridge – II: Joint Indo–Oman air exercise ‘Eastern Bridge–II’ begins at Jamnagar

A Joint Exercise christened ‘Eastern Bridge–2011’, second of the series by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), is being conducted at Air Force Station Jamnagar from 17–21 Oct 2011. RAFO contingent of six Jaguar aircrafts & 115 are taking part in the Ex with Jamnagar based Dragon Squadron of Jaguars & First Supersonics of Mig 29s. It is the maiden visit of the RAFO Jaguars to India.

The first Ex between the two Air Forces was held in Oct 2009 at RAFO Thumrait, Oman wherein six Jaguars had operated and then the Omanis had expressed their keen interest and desire to fly over Indian terrain which has a vast variation quite unlike the Omani flatbed desert. As the RAFO pilots take off for various exercises from AF Stn 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 Gujarat.

After the familiarization of RAFO contingent with local flying operational procedures at the base, exercise commenced on 17 Oct 2011. The week long exercise involves a variety of flying missions from each other’s best practices in terms of operational, maintenance and administrative procedures. The exercise will expose the aircrew of RAFO and IAF, to 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.

The progress of the Ex will be reviewed by the senior officials of both the Air Forces. This exercise will not only enrich the IAF and RAFO professionally but culturally also as the Omani people and Indians share a similar culture. Veterans of Ex ‘Eastern Bridge-I’ held in 2009 also got a chance to meet old friends from RAFO. This has strengthened the bond between the IAF and RAFO. Informal social interaction and a friendly football match between the teams of the participating contingents have been planned with an aim to enhance mutual understanding and bonhomie.

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