Indian, French air forces conclude mega drill

New Delhi, Jan 23: Rafale fighter jets of Indian and French air forces along with a number of other aircraft undertook complex missions including “large force engagements” as part of exercise ‘Ex Desert Knight’ in Jodhpur, the defence ministry said on Saturday.
The four-day-long mega drill concluded on Saturday.
“Rafale aircraft from both sides along with Su-30 MKI and Mirage 2000 aircraft of the IAF undertook complex missions including large force engagements,” the ministry said in a statement.
Apart from its frontline combat jets, the Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed its IL-78 flight refuelling plane as well as airborne warning and control system (AWACS) in the exercise, officials said.
The French side participated with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft. “Both air forces exercised in realistic settings with an aim to enhance operational capabilities and interoperability. The exercise provided an opportunity to share best practices and evolve operational concepts; particularly for effective combat employment of the Rafale fleet,” the ministry said.
Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat visited the air force station Jodhpur on Thursday and interacted with participating forces.
He also flew on-board the MRTT along with Maj Gen Laurent Lherbette, the leader of the French Air and Space Force.
On Saturday, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria visited the air force station Jodhpur along with the Ambassador of France to India Emmanuel Lenain, the ministry said.
It said Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria interacted with both the contingents.
“He expressed his appreciation on the complexity of operations conducted and interoperability achieved by participants within a short span of four days,” the ministry said. (PTI)

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