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Indo-UK war games begin at WB airbase

Last updated on: October 21, 2010 10:05 IST

Indo-UK war games begin at WB airbase

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Indian Air Force's frontline Su-30 MKI fighter jets and Eurofighter Typhoons of the Royal Air Force on October 20 began 17 days of war games codenamed Ex-Indradhanush at the Kalaikunda airbase in West Bengal, which concludes on November 3.

The RAF has also deployed its Airborne Warning and Control System (E-3D) and air-to-air-refuellers (VC-10) along with the Typhoons, while the IAF's AWACS participated for the first time with any country.

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Image: An RAF Eurofighter Typhoon takes off
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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Also, taking part are IAF's Mirage 2000s and Mig27s.

A defence ministry release said that the assets would be combined with the aircrew and divided into the blue and red forces.


Image: An IAF Mirage 2000 taxis into position

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"The red forces are the aggressors, while blue forces are the defending side," it said.

The roles of the participants were changed throughout the exercise as also the degree of difficulty by random denial of mid-air refuelling and radar silence.


Image: A Royal Air Force VC10 aircraft. The VC10 C1K is a dual-role AT and AAR aircraft. In the AT role, the aircraft is used for troop carrying, with accommodation for 124 passengers and nine crew. Use of a large, cabin-freight door on the forward left side of the aircraft allows easy conversion of the aircraft into a dual-role passenger/freight or full-freight configuration. In its full-freight role, the cabin can hold up to 20,400kgs of palletised freight, ground equipment or vehicles, on its permanently strengthened floor.

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The major highlight of the exercise was the large number of aircraft operating together and against each other in limited time and space putting the skills of pilots and fighter controllers to test, the release said.


Image: An RAF Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW1. The file photo shows E-3 accompanied by two Panavia Tornado F3s

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Air Marshal L K Malhotra of the Eastern Air Command who met the participants said, "Apart from the pilots flying these missions, it is an excellent opportunity for the controllers who would be either controlling these missions or will be on board AWACS aircraft as observers. On the technical side, there would be a number of areas where both sides could learn from each other's maintenance practices, procedures and management of resources supporting flying operations."




Image: File photo shows two MIG-27 Floggers flying alongside an American F-15 Eagle

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He urged the participants to make full use of the opportunity and wished them 'Happy Hunting'.

"Kalaikunda has the necessary infrastructure for an international exercise of this magnitude," said Commander of the Air Force base at Kalaikunda, Air Commodore D K Vashist.

Operationally the station had the environment conducive for flying and the airspace was fully available for such large force engagements, he said.


Image: IAF Sukhois flying in formation

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"The aim of the exercise is to enhance mutual understanding and refine procedures. During this exercise, specific emphasis will be laid on exposing the controllers -- Air Traffic Control and AWACS -- to large force engagements and protection of high value aerial assets." 

Another area of emphasis will be the management of logistical needs to move large forces from one part of the world to another.


Image: IAF AWACS taxis on the runway

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