India to have a 'Red Flag' war game of its own soon

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (PTI) India will soon have an advanced
air war game in a multi-national setting on the lines of the
U.S.' Red Flag exercise in which the Indian Air Force (I.A.F.)
participated this August for the first time.

"Yes, we are working towards having a multi-national
air force gaming, which will be quite advanced, providing the
best of air battle scenarios," I.A.F.'s vice chief Air Marshal
P. V. Naik told reporters here Thursday.

The proposed war game would be held on Indian soil and
would have a distinct Indian name, he said, replying to
queries on the sidelines of an I.A.F. team's debriefing on the
Red Flag exercise here.

The team comprising 91 officers and 156 personnel below
officer rank had returned home from the U.S. late last week
and are in the process of compiling their experiences at the
Red Flag exercise for future reference.

Naik said India went on to participate in the exercise
on the invitation from the U.S. Air Force and it was a rarity
that a non-N.A.T.O. country's air force was participating in
the exercise that followed N.A.T.O. standard operating

However, the Indian contingent "seamlessly integrating"
into the U.S. Air Force' operating procedures impressed the
Red Flag staff members.

Though the I.A.F.'s ability to adapt to new operating
environment quickly was at full display at Red Flag, Naik said
India's participation at the world's only exercise with near
warlike, large force engagement scenarios would be done once
in five years.

"The Red Flag happens every quarter in a year, but I.A.F.
participating in it was an expensive affair. The Red Flag
being a complex exercise, extensive preparation too is needed,
which actually unsettles the regular training rhythm of I.A.F.
pilots," Naik said.

"The process of I.A.F. participation in the Red Flag this
August started in February 2007 with the U.S.A.F. Chief
General T. Micheal Moseley extending an invitation for
participation in the coveted exercise," the I.A.F. vice chief

The I.A.F. had joined the U.S., French and South Korean
air forces for Red Flag held at the Nellis U.S.A.F. Base in
Nevada State.

Of all the air forces that participated in the exercise,
the I.A.F. had the distinction of being the only air force to
have about 95 percent serviceability of all its platforms, be
it the eight Su-30 multi role, air superiority, strike
fighters, two IL-78 air-to-air refuellers or the lone IL-76
heavy lift transport aircraft.

Red Flag also provided opportunity to the I.A.F. to test
its capability to deploy a trans-continental task force of
fighters, refuellers and transport aircraft, Group Captain D
Chaudhary, I.A.F.'s Gwalior-based Tactics and Air Combat
Development Establishment (T.A.C.D.E.) Commandant and the team
leader for the exercise.

"Yes, I.A.F. does possess the capability for deploying
troops and force projection in battle grounds far away from
India's mainland if necessary," Naik said to a question.

The I.A.F. pilots also gained experience on the
U.S.A.F.'s F-16s when the two sides did some half-a-dozen
exchange flying with their pilots trying out the Su-30 MKI

"Of course, the exchange flying sorties were done in
non-sensors mode and it was done at U.S.A.F. base Mountain
Home in Idaho State during the work up phase just before the
actual Red Flag exercises," Wing Commander G. Thomas,
commanding officer of the Pune-based 20 Squadron, said.

While the French brought their latest Rafale aircraft,
the South Koreans brought their F-15s and the U.S. both their
F-15s F-16s to the Red Flag.

Incidentally, F-16 of Lockheed Martin, a U.S. aerospace
major, and French Rafale are contenders for I.A.F.'s
requirement of 126 multi-role combat aircraft.

On their return journey, the I.A.F. team also stopped at
Al Dhafra near to Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates to
participate in the 'Desert Eagle' exercise with the U.A.E. air

The Su-30s exercised with the U.A.E.'s Mirage-2000s and
F-16s during Desert Eagle, the first time India and U.A.E. air
forces were exercising together.

"The invitation for Desert Eagle had come while the
I.A.F. team to Red Flag was on its way to the U.S. So during
the return journey, the I.A.F. team was exposed to the U.A.E.
air force's exercise too," Naik said.