The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday tweeted visuals of Sukhoi’s Su-30 MKI in the skies of the United Arab Emirates during the nation’s Desert Flag-VI exercise in which the UAE, the US, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain are participating.
Sharing the images from the warfare exercise with ‘Monday Magnum Opus’ hashtag, IAF said, “#ExDesertFlag – IAF soaring high & united in the blue skies over United Arab Emirates Flag of United Arab Emirates. In Picture – Su-30MKI #IndianAirForce, F-15E #UnitedStatesAirForce and F-15SA #RoyalSaudiAirForce.”
India’s force and aircraft are participating in the exercise, scheduled from March 3 to 21 at the UAE’s Al-Dhafra airbase, for the first time. IAF is participating with six Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircraft. The C-17 Globemaster will provide support for the induction and de-induction of the IAF contingent.
The Exercise Desert Flag is an annual multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the UAE Air Force. “The IAF is participating for the first time in Exercise Desert Flag-VI along with air forces of United Arab Emirates, United States of America, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain,” an IAF statement issued last week said.
The Su-30 MKI aircraft will undertake a long-range ferry, routing directly from India to the exercise area with aerial refuelling support from the IL-78 tanker aircraft. The aim of the exercise is to provide operational exposure to the participating forces while training them to undertake simulated air combat operations in a controlled environment, the statement said.
The participating forces will get an opportunity to enhance their operational capabilities, it said, adding that there will also be a mutual exchange of best practices. The large-scale exercise involving diverse fighter aircraft from across the globe will provide the participating forces, including the IAF, a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience, enhance operational capabilities and interoperability.
Exercising and interacting with the participating nations in a dynamic and realistic warfare environment will also contribute to strengthening international relations, the statement said.