The Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in a bilateral exercise with the French Air Force, named ‘Exercise Garuda-VI’ in France from 1 to 12 July 2019. This is the sixth edition of Exercise Garuda and is being planned at French Air Force Base, Mont-de-Marsan. The last exercise, ‘Garuda V’ was held at the Air Force Station Jodhpur in June 2014.

The IAF contingent comprises of 120 air-warriors, four Su-30 MKIs, and an IL-78 Flight Refueling aircraft which would participate in the exercise. The C-17 strategic lift aircraft has been reported to provide the logistic support to the contingent during the induction and de-induction phase of the Exercise.

This is one of the biggest air exercises that is being planned between the two Air Forces. The Indian Air Force Su-30 MKI will be operating in a simulated operational warfighting scenario along with the French Air Forces’ multirole Rafale aircraft. This will enhance the understanding of interoperability during mutual operations between the two Air Forces and provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices.

The 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 for air warriors to operate in an international environment. The IAF team departed from Air Force Stations Bareilly and Agra on 25 June 2019.

(The writer is a Delhi-based independent contributor to print and online publications)