The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the US Air Force (USAF) have begun a 12-day bilateral joint air exercise known as Cope India 2019 (CI19) involving transport aircraft and fighter jets from both nations.
Cope India 2019 exercise is being held at two Indian air bases in Kalaikunda and Panagarh in West Bengal.
CI19 is a US Pacific Air Forces-sponsored field training exercise designed to improve mutual cooperation between the two nations.
The airmen will train in a range of missions, including subject matter expert exchanges, air mobility training, airdrop training and large-force exercises.
13th Air Expeditionary Group – Cope India 2019 (AEG-CI19) commander colonel Darryl Insley said: “We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to fly and train with our Indian Air Force counterparts within their home country.
“Through participation in Cope India, I’m confident that all airmen involved will both increase their skills and build meaningful bonds through bilateral engagements and exchanges.”
The USAF’s fleet of F15 C/D and C-130 military aircraft will participate in the exercise while the IAF is deploying the Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, C-130J and airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft.
In addition, the US will deploy approximately 200 airmen with the 15 aircraft from the 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base in Japan and 182nd Airlift Wing, Illinois Air National Guard.
The annual exercise took place for the first time in 2004 as a fighter training exercise and was last held in 2009.