IAF to participate in US air combat training exercise

Jamnagar, April 3 (IANS) The Indian Air Force is all set to participate in an advanced aerial combat training exercise ‘Red Flag-Alaska’ with eight of its frontline fighter jets taking off from the Jamnagar airbase on Sunday all the way to Alaska.

Four Sukhoi 30-MKI fighters and four Jaguars, along with two military transport C17 Globemasters, and two IL 78 mid-air refuellers will represent India at the exercise.

The aircraft fleet is accompanied by around 200-member IAF team, flying to Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska in the US, via Bahrain, Egypt, France, Portugal and Canada, an IAF official said.

India last participated in a similar exercise in 2008, when the IAF joined Red Flag exercise at the Nellis airbase in Nevada, US. The Indian participation at that time cost around Rs.100 crore.

Red Flag-Alaska is a 10-day air combat training exercise of the US Air Force which is held up to four times a year.

It is held at the Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force Bases in Alaska.

The first exercise of this year is set to be held from April 28 to May 13 as per the website of the Eielson Air Force Base.

Originally named ‘Cope Thunder’, the exercise was moved to the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska from the Clark Air Base, the Philippines, in 1992 after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo on June 15, 1991, forced the curtailment of operations.

‘Cope Thunder’ was re-designated Red Flag-Alaska in 2006.

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