The multilateral Red Flag Aerial combat exercises between US, NATO and allied forces and India Air Force (IAF) concluded in Alaska, US.
The four-week long (from April 28 to May 13, 2016) aerial combat exercises was held at the Nellis Air Force Base, Alaska. This was the second time India had participated in such an exercise after 2008.
- Objective of IAF’s participation in this inter-continental exercise was to showcase its capability in undertaking integrated air operations and gain also operational lessons.
- In this edition, IAF flew 10 aircraft viz. 4 Su-30MKIs, 4 Jaguars and 2 IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers and a team of over 170 personnel was part of the exercise.
- The exercise was conducted multiple simulated scenario to provide realistic settings with a Red Force, defending their airspace and assets and a Blue Force acting as offensive side.
- Red Force was constituted by US F-16 fighters, while the IAF planes along with other USAF aircraft such as F-15, F-16 and F-22 and US Navy F-18, constituted the Blue Force.
- The exercise also endured the sub-zero temperatures, which posed a challenge to the maintenance team to maintain 100 per cent serviceability of all platforms.
About Red Flag Air Exercises
- The Red Flag exercise is advanced aerial combat training exercises, held periodically at the Nellis Air Force Base since 1975.
- The exercises provide an opportunity to the pilots from the US, NATO and other allied countries to practice and refine their skills for real combat situations.
- The real combat situations include the use of live ammunition for bombing exercises and enemy hardware within the Nellis complex.
- India’s Participation: Due to high cost of participation, IAF takes part in the exercise once in every five year. For the first time IAF had participated in 2008, and for second time it was scheduled in 2013 but the plan was cancelled by the US following budget cuts.