The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that the Indian and Japanese air forces have completed the bilateral air defence exercise Veer Guardian 2023.

The maiden iteration of this joint exercise was held between 12 and 26 January from the Hyakuri Air Base in Japan.

The exercise involved the participation of the Japan Air Self-Defence Force’s (JASDF) four F-2 multi-role attack jets and four F-15 fighter aircraft.

Deployed air assets from the Indian Air Force (IAF) included a contingent of four Su-30 MKI aircraft, one Ilyushin Il-78 in-flight refuelling tanker and two C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift transport aircraft.

As part of this training event, the aircraft from both air forces carried out a wide range of extensive and complex air drills in different simulated operational environments.

Throughout the exercise, which lasted for a total of 16 days, participating personnel from the IAF and JASDF engaged in the ‘precise planning and skilful execution’ of comprehensive exercises and scenarios.

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It included interception and air defence operations, as well as other air combat missions conducted in both visual and beyond visual range settings.

IAF and JASDF personnel also performed various ground interactions to discuss and exchange a variety of concepts.

The process allowed the two countries’ participating contingents to get an insight into their counterpart’s best practices and capabilities.

According to the MoD, Veer Guardian 2023 provided an opportunity for both the nations’ air forces to strengthen mutual understanding and interoperability, while simultaneously honing their joint air combat capabilities.

The joint manoeuvres also allowed the IAF and JASDF’s aircrew to fly each other’s fighter aircraft. It further helped the bilateral air forces to experience and understand each other’s operating strategies and philosophies.