Thursday, July 24, 2008

Glory! IAF Su-30s train at Idaho USAF Base!

Just found these marvellous photos of our Sukhoi air warriors taken at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, USA on July 17 ahead of their participation in the Red Flag exercise at Nellis air force base in Nevada which begins August 9. They'll be here till August 7 on the "warm up" phase. To quote from the US Air Force captions to these photos, "This is the first time in history the Indian air force has been on American soil to train with US fighters. They will be taking advantage of Mountain Home's vast air space and multiple ranges to better prepare their aircrews for future flying missions." The last photo is of Group Captain Ajay Rathore, the exercise coordinator and pilot who flew President Kalam in June 2006. Now I can't wait to get photos from Nellis itself!

Just incidentally, here's a piece posted two days ago on the USAF Mountain Home site about the base where the IAF Sukhois are currently warming up. Useful reading:

The Mountain Home Range Complex is an ideal location for Air Force pilots to train for the missions they may encounter while in combat.

The 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base operates, maintains and develops the MHRC which is comprised of 7,400 square miles of associated airspace and 122,000 acres of land space used for two air-to-ground training ranges, five no-drop target complexes and 30 multi-size electronic combat sites.

The MHRC supports unit-level and composite force training providing aircrews a realistic training environment to hone their combat skills.

Due to the size and capabilities of our range space, mission activities such as search and rescue training, survival training, convoy escort training and ground based air defense radar threat simulation are possible on our range. While primarily used by active duty units from Mountain Home AFB and Air National Guard units from Gowen Field Air National Guard Base in Boise, Idaho, the MHRC also supports other Air Force and Department of Defense users across the nation.

The primary air-to-ground training ranges are Saylor Creek Range, located 12 miles east of Bruneau, Idaho, and Juniper Butte Range, located 37 miles southeast of Bruneau, Idaho.

Saylor Creek Range was established in 1954 and Juniper Butte Range was established in 1998. The training range's impact areas consist of approximately 24,000 acres of exclusive use area land. The ranges provide aircrews a realistic layout of simulated targets similar to those they might encounter during actual combat, such as an airfield, an industrial complex and radar, missile, gun and artillery sites.

Although only inert training ordnance is dropped on the ranges, these munitions still pose a potential hazard to personnel and public access is not authorized on the ranges at anytime. The impact areas of the air-to-ground ranges are fenced off and warning signs are posted approximately every 600 feet. There are approximately 97,000 acres of Air Force owned, joint-use land around Saylor Creek Range where public access is permitted.

Since Saylor Creek Range has been in operation for more than 50 years, there exists a small potential to find ordnance off the impact area. While today's aircraft are highly accurate, aircraft flown 30 to 50 years ago weren't as accurate and, periodically, training ordnance was dropped off the impact area. Normally that ordnance was immediately picked up, but there still exists a small potential to find surface or subsurface ordnance. If you are in a public area near the range and find any objects that look like unexploded ordnance, do not move or disturb the object. Note the location, including directions, any landmarks, or other features that would aid in locating the object. Leave the hazard area and immediately report the object to the 366th FW Public Affairs Office at 828-6800 or the 366th FW Command Post at 828-5800. The command post can also be contacted for any other questions regarding the MHRC.

Photos Courtesy US Air Force


Eric jose , delhi said...

why does India exhibit the most latest and lethal weapons(in this case the Su30 MKI's) in these exercises when America doesn’t even show a glimpse of what they have outside their country(in war exercises) like the f-22's( don’t say that they did on the Farnborough air show, they didn’t fly against other aircraft)or dont show their capablities atleast in front of countries like india.
the very motive of these exercises is to learn new combat tactics and also inter- compatibility(just imagine India and America fighting a common enemy!) -which could have been achieved even if India sends the mirages or some ground attack aircraft (as this in this very exercise sukhoi was to play that role).
why are we giving other countries a chance to know what our strengths are and what are our weaknesses? .(remember the ancient SAMs destroying a stealth F-117 aircraft-Kosovo conflict)
'cause once our opponent knows that the game's over as the difference between any two modern air force at war would be the tactics and the endurance of the crew as the equpment will always be at the cutting edge of techonology
in the past airforce personnel have refused to perform certain things in joint exercises (cant remember what exactly it was , it was something considering the radar of the sukhois) these incidents dont come to light as they are bound with their code of conduct.
and yeah the top bosses always sing praises of the airforce though they dont realise that our aircrafts( su 30's) are pitted against mediocre aircrafts like ( f 16 and f 15) whereas the sukhois are among the best in the world and are destined to win....if the purpose is training why dont they send the downgraded Su 30 Mk with the same crew.
and then the question comes why are other new aircraft like the rafael is shown, remember its a marketing strategy to catch india's and other countries attention.
any day it sounds good when a mig 21 BIS wins a dog fight against f 15(cope india), we can show our strenght through these aircrafts also(though they cant travel long in this case :( , probably though , but mirages and jaguars can...)

Anonymous said...

Reason Americans are shielding the F22 is keep its image as the worlds best. They can not take a chance on that claim.. as long as you dont fight, you dont lose and you are the best!

Are the hangers where we put the MKIs locked up all times? Hope India puts in place proper security around her assets.

After all, another cold war is in the making between US and Russia. Anything learnt about the latest Sukhois is of immense value.

Anonymous said...

paranoid sensibilities apart, it is definitely true that the us would like to know more about the flankers and will be looking to get any data it can possible record about our planes. i'm surprised the russians haven't raised any objections just yet!

Aditya said...


There is not much the US does not know about the Sukhoi. What they do not know - radar signature - the IAF has taken care to shield (removing certain modules, using only basic modes.

Secondly, the USAF and IAF are not going to fight against each other in the near future. However, we will fight alongside each other. The Sukhoi, as you know, can be used for ground attack so it will be involved in most operations of ours. On the other hand the USAF cannot use its Raptors in Iraq or Afghanistan. So they don't need to train with ground pounders.

The F-16s and F-15s are inferior aircraft, sure. But the USAF doesn't fight aircraft v/s aircraft, they fight with their entire system - AWACS, J-STARS, ELINT birds. so training against them will be hard work for our guys.

The Sukhoi Su-30K/MKs have been returned to Russia - they will be replaced with fresh MKIs. We're sending the MKIs because in ten years from now our force is going to revolve around them. Half our Jaguars will be obsolete then, as will all our Mirages (20 and growing older).

And the Bison did not beat the Eagle in a dogfight. Surprised them with a pop-up shot, yes. :)

Anonymous @ 8:29 - well, they've already seen them at Cope India; and no doubt the Brits will share whatever they learnt at Indradhanush...

Anonymous said...

these indians need to stop taking our products to USA and expose its weakness to them!!

Radman said...


your analysis is spot on. there is very little the usaf does not already know about the sukhoi. the us battle management plan is never a one on one confrontation. it is a total "package" operation. there is no country that can take on the us in a conventional battle.

Radman said...


your analysis is spot on. there is very little the usaf does not already know about the sukhoi. the us battle management plan is never a one on one confrontation. it is a total "package" operation. there is no country that can take on the us in a conventional battle.

Anonymous said...

i hear IAF stripped down the sukhois. For example the multi target tracking radar on the sukhois has been left home in india.

Anonymous said...

shiv, many of us really appreciate the work you are doing. it is a true pleasure to log onto this blog daily to see the new posts. we especially enjoy the hard work you put in by getting these wonderful awe inspiring photos for us. it is a great service you are doing and is an inspiration to one and all. we hope you will keep up the great job. akhilesh (kanpur)

bloggerhead said...

hey shiv
just chanced on your blog.. good to see you write again. Though the tenor is kind of different.

Anonymous said...

why is the color near the gun of MKI a lighter shade than the rest of the aircraft?

Aditya said...

anonymous @ 4:45

Hot exhaust gases from the muzzle cause the paint to wear out. As such the IAF only keeps the protective coating and not the camo colour.