The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to take part in a two-week bilateral exercise with the French Air Force to enhance interoperability between the two forces.

Known as ‘Garuda-VI’, this is the sixth edition of the exercise. The upcoming exercise will be held between 1 and 12 July at French Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan.

The IAF will be represented at the exercise by 120 aircrew troops, four Su-30 MKI and an IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft.

The Indian contingent that has already left for France includes C-17 strategic lift aircraft for logistic support during the induction and de-induction phase.

During Garuda-VI exercise, the Su-30 MKI will operate in a simulated operational combat scenario along with the French Air Forces’ Rafale multirole aircraft.

In a statement, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: “This is one of the biggest air exercises that are being planned between the two airforces.

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“This will enhance understanding of interoperability during mutual operations between the two airforces and provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices.”

The Garuda-VI exercise will help boost bilateral relations between the IAF and the French Air Force.

The MoD added that IAF air troops will have an opportunity to operate in an international environment.

‘Garuda V’, the previous iteration in the series, was conducted at Indian Air Force Station Jodhpur in June 2014.

India is acquiring 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France’s Dassault Aviation. The first aircraft under this project is expected to be inducted in September this year.