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IAF's Rafale Takes Part In Red Flag Exercise For First Time In US, Here's What Happened There

Nishtha Anushree

Jun 16, 2024, 12:11 PM | Updated 12:11 PM IST

IAF crew
IAF crew

In the second edition of Exercise Red Flag 2024, the Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent participated along with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), German Luftwaffe, and the US Air Force (USAF).

In the exercise conducted at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska of the USAF, from 4 June to 14 June, IAF Rafale took part for the first time in Exercise Red Flag, alongside the RSAF and USAF F-16 and F-15s, and the USAF A-10 aircraft.

The transatlantic ferry of Rafale fighter aircraft was enabled by the IL-78 Air to Air Refuellers (AAR). Along with Rafale, IAF personnel comprising aircrew, technicians, engineers, controllers and subject matter experts also participated.

The transportation of personnel and equipment was undertaken by the C-17 Globemaster aircraft. They will land back to India on 24 June after participating in exercise with Air Force elements of Greece and Egypt.

Exercise Red Flag is an advanced aerial combat training exercise, held four times in a year by the US Air Force. It is conducted with multiple scenarios designed to provide realistic combat settings. A demarcation of forces is done for simulating the desired environment.

The Red Force simulates Air Defence elements, and the Blue Force simulates the Offensive Composite elements. During this Exercise, the Red Force was mainly constituted by the USAF Aggressor Sqn flying the F-16 and the F-15 aircraft.

The missions included Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat exercises as a part of Large Force Engagements (LFE), in Offensive Counter Air and Air Defence roles. The IAF crew was actively involved in mission planning and also assumed the role of Mission Leaders.

Key takeaways from the exercise included insight on interoperability with international partners and a collaborative understanding of employment philosophy in a multinational environment.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.


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