New Delhi: The Exercise Red Flag 'battle' has begun in the Joint Pacific Range Complex over Alaska. Some of Indian Air Force's best fighter pilots are squaring off with pilots from the US Air Force and other top guns from Japan, South Korea and Germany to test their capabilities in a dynamic warfare environment.
Led by Group Captain H Assudani, the IAF contingent comprises of SU-30 MKI, Jaguar,C-17 and IL-78 Flight Refueling Aircraft. The over 150 strong Indian contingent and their machines are stationed at the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
While the 'Work Up' phase of the exercise - termed ‘Distant Frontier’- was held in last month, the main simulated war games exercise began yesterday. During 'Distant Frontier' phase, the team adopted a philosophy of ‘Crawl, Walk & Run’ signifying a progressive build up in the effort, pace and complexities of training sorties that were flown through the 'Work Up' phase.
The training included understanding the local flying environment, NATO brevity codes and radio terminologies.
Now in the main exercise phase, IAF fighters will operate in the airspace along with the some of the best fighter planes of the USAF like F-22 , F-16 , F-15 and F-18.
And, our men appear to have already impressed hosts with UAF F-16 aggressor squadron appreciating the performance of the Indian Air Force crew in the multiples missions conducted so far.
This is IAF's second outing at the Red Flag exercise. IN 2008, IAF Sukhois had participated in the exercise at NEllis Air Base but given the high cost – Rs 100 crores – the government decided to send the IAF team once in five years.
The 2013 edition was cancelled by the USAF due to budget constraints, leading to their return this year.