IAF debuts at "Red Flag" Exercise

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New Delhi, Aug 11 (UNI) The prestigious "Red Fleg" Exercise in which the Indian Air Force is participating for the first time, has begun at the Nellis Air Force base, US.

Apart from the USAF, South Korean Air Force with F-15K and the French Air Force with their latest Rafale aircraft, are taking part in the tough Exercise.

A 247-strong IAF contingent will form part of the Blue Forces (mainly from the visiting countries alongwith a large USAF contingent) which would engage in combat with the Red Forces, the "Aggressors" with F-15s and F-16s aircraft of 64th and 65th Aggressor squadrons of USAF based at Air Force Base Nellis.

The IAF will involve eight SU-30 MK-Is, two IL-78 air-to-air refuellers and one IL-76 transport aircraft in the 15-day multinational air exercise, which took off yesterday.

Exercise Red Flag provides a realistic war situation in which two sides battle it out. They will have all possible odds 'thrown' at them. Availability of a large air to air range with threat replication, contributes to the tremendous training value of the exercise.

The replication of the air war would see the IAF's Su-30 aircraft participating in suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) air to air and air to ground missions. The IL-78 tankers and USAF AWACS would be in active support role. The IL-76 would undertake tactical transport operations&large force engagements operations.

This multinational air exercise was originally conceived in 1975 by USAF with an advanced aerial combat training format - the purpose being to ensure that pilots are trained well enough to survive in air combat and win air battles. The exercise holds tremendous learning opportunity for all the participating Air Forces. It is held thrice a year at Nellis Air Force base, US.

During the exercise, a set of Red Flag-team forms the 'white Force' and uses high tech instrumentation and mission debrief tools to evaluate the performance of the participants in a clinical and detached manner.

The Blue force are made to change their plans often to put them under pressure. The White Force watches the entire exercise in real time on monitor screens on ground. Kill removal (removal of the pilots and aircraft assumed shot by the enemy) makes the exercise more realistic.

Addressing the participating Air Warriors, contingent commander Group Capt D Choudhury said, ''We have trained long and hard for this day. It is the time to showcase our professionalism. I have total faith and confidence in you. The world is watching us, so gentlemen lets show them what we are made up of.'' UNI MMG ARB BD1722

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