New Delhi (NVI): Indian Air Force (IAF) and French Air and Space Force (FASF) have concluded the bilateral air exercise – Ex Desert Knight-21 – which was being conducted at Air Force Station, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
In a first of its kind bilateral exercise, Rafale aircraft from both sides along with Su-30 MKI and Mirage 2000 aircraft of the IAF undertook complex missions including Large Force Engagements, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Defence.
Combat enablers included AWACS, AEW&C aircraft of the IAF as well as A400M and A330 based MRTT (Medium Range Tanker and Transport) aircraft of the FASF, the statement added.
The exercise marked an important milestone in the Indo-French defence cooperation.
Both the 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,” Defence Ministry stated.
During the event, Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat attended the air exercise on January 21 and interacted with the participating forces.
In addition to this, he flew on-board the MRTT along with Maj Gen Laurent Lherbette, the FASF contingent leader, where he was given an overview on conduct of the exercise and witnessed air-to-air refuelling operations by IAF and FASF fighters.
On January 23, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria attended the event along with the Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain.
CAS Bhadauria interacted with members of both the contingents. He expressed his appreciation on the complexity of operations conducted and interoperability achieved by participants within a short span of 4 days.
He also commended the planning, operational and maintenance staff from both sides for smooth and safe conduct of the exercise. CAS wished the FASF contingent the very best for the next phase of their Skyros deployment.