12:00 AM, October 22, 2010
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The flying exercise missions of Indo-UK Air Exercise Indradhanush began today i.e. on 20 Oct 2010 at Air Force Station Kalaikunda. Elaborate briefings on standard operating procedures, rules of exercise and familiarization of the local flying area etc were carried on initial two days of the exercise i.e. 18 & 19 October 2010. The Royal Air Force is participating with Typoon Eurofighters, the E 3 D Sentry, and VC-10 mid air refueller while the IAF has fielded the SU-30 MKIs, Mirage 2000s, Mig 27s and its AWACS ( for the first time in a joint Air Exercise). These assets would be combined along with the aircrew and then divided into the blue and red forces. The red forces are the agressors while blue forces are the defending side. The roles of the participants are changed through out the exercise. The degree of difficulty during the exercise missions is increased by random denial of mid air refueling, and radar silence etc. The major highlight of the exercise is large no of aircraft operating together and against each other in limited time and space putting the skills of the pilots and the fighter controllers to test. This is known as large force engagement operations (LFE). Air Marshal L K Malhotra of the Eastern Air Command met the participants and addressed them today. In his address he 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 too, there will be a number of areas where both the sides can learn from each others maintainance practices, procedures and management of resources with a view to support flying operations”. He urged the participants to make full use of the opportunity and wished them ‘happy hunting’. The commander of the Air Force base at Kalaikunda, Air Commodore DK Vashist said “Kalaikunda has the necessary infrastructure which is necessary for an international exercise of this magnitude. Operationally the station has the environment conducive for flying. Also, the airspace is fully available for such large force engagements. He also said “the aim of the exercise is to enhance mutual understanding and refine procedures. During this exercise a specific emphasis will be laid on exposing the controllers (ATC & AWACS) to large force engagements and protection of high value aerial assets.
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