The Indian Air Force and the Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) are participating in a bilateral exercise, named Exercise Garuda-VI, in France from July 1 to 12.
This is the sixth edition of Exercise Garuda and is being planned at French Air Force’s Mont-de-Marsan Air Base. The last joint air exercise, ‘Garuda V’ was held at Air Force Station Jodhpur in India in June 2014.
This is one of the biggest air exercises that is being planned between the two Air Forces.
The IAF contingent participating in the exercise include 120 airmen, four Su-30MKI fighter aircraft and an Il-78MKI aerial refueling aircraft. A C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter will provide the logistic support to the contingent during the induction and de-induction phase.
During the exercise, Indian Su-30 MKI jets will be operating in a simulated war fighting scenario with French Air Force’s Rafale multirole aircraft.
“This will enhance understanding of interoperability during mutual operations between the two Air Forces and provide an opportunity to learn from each others best practices”, said an Indian Ministry of Defence statement.
“Participation of IAF in the exercise will also promote professional interaction, exchange experiences and operational knowledge besides strengthening bilateral relations with the French Air Force. It will also provide a good opportunity to the air warriors to operate in an international environment”, the statement added.
The IAF team departed from Air Force Station Bareily and Agra for the exercise on June 25.
Along with Exercise Garuda for the air forces, India and France conducts joint exercises involving armies and navies. Exercise Shakti is conducted by Indian and French Armies with the last one took place in January-February 2018 in France and Exercise Varuna for the Navies with the last edition conducted during March-May 2018 in Goa, Mumbai and Reunion Island.