IAF Statement: The exercise Garuda 2010, presently underway at Istres Air Base in France, between the air forces of India France and Singapore has entered its final phase today. Over 60 missions have been successfully flown and the exercise would conclude on 25 Jun 2010.
During the exercise, the six IAF SU-30MKI along with the Mirage-2000-5 and Rafale and the F-16 were engaged in various air defence manoeuvres such as implementation of "no fly zones" and large force engagements during day and night. The SU-30 also took part in the high value air borne asset protection as well as their protection busting missions. The IL-78 refuellers of the IAF and the KC-135 refuellers of the French Air Force also participated in various missions carrying out cross refuelling (i,e, refuelling the fighters of the other air forces). Refuelling denials were practised making these missions more difficult.
A unique feature to which the SU-30 were subjected was the "swing roles". In this type of missions, the same aircraft is simultaneously put to offensive as well as defensive roles. The E-3 AWACS provided the radar coverage during the Ex. The IAF special forces team "Garud" have so far carried out two jumps each by day and night along with the French special forces. Our IL-76 is undertaking the task of these drops.
Air Mshl KK Nowhar of the IAF who visited the contingent involved in the Garuda-2010 said - " Our participation in the Ex has reinforced the manner in which we conduct our operations. It has also helped us refine our doctrine. In future, there is a slim chance that a country would operate in isolation especially in a co-operative defence scenario. Thus knowing each others best practices in terms of tactics, techniques and procedures is the main objective of this exercise, which is also a part of the on-going Indo-French Defence Cooperation".
According to Air Attaché, Embassy of India, France, Air Cmde SK Ghotia who is also the chief coordinator of the IAF-FAF Cooperation, Garuda-2010 is a milestone in the Indo-French defence cooperation. This has been the widest scope ever accomplished between three nations. The Ex brought together the best fighting machines of the world such as the Sukhois, F16s, Rafale and Mirage-2000-5. Our pilots flew in these cockpits and has gained tremendous learning experience. The engineers, technicians and all other members of the team have also benefitted substantially from the exercise.
The intensity of the Ex has been increased gradually to enhance the understanding of the contingent members beginning with basic One-Vs-One missions and limited BVR capabilities, and then progressing to multi-aircraft strikes and counter air missions with complete BVR capability, and concluding with Large Force Engagement sorties. The IAF contingent is expected to return back to India by July 03, 2010.
Photos Courtesy Indian Air Force / DPR Defence