The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to hold a bilateral air training exercise, called Veer Guardian-2023, with the Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF).

Announced by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 7 January, the joint exercise will be conducted at Hyakuri Air Base in Japan.

It is scheduled to take place between 12 and 26 January.

The training is being organised to strengthen air defence cooperation between the two nations. 

The decision to enhance bilateral defence cooperation and address the emerging security needs of the two countries was made during the second 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial meeting held in Tokyo, Japan, in September 2022.

The countries also planned to organise their first joint air combat jet exercise.

The two-week training will involve the participation of various air assets from the IAF, including two C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft and one Ilyushin Il-78 in-flight refuelling tanker.

Additionally, four Su-30MKI Sukhoi aircraft from the IAF’s No 220 Squadron, also called ‘Desert Tigers’, from Halwara Air Force Station, Punjab, India, will participate in the exercise. 

According to a tweet by the IAF, the contingent has departed from India and will briefly stopover in Thailand and the Philippines before reaching Japan. 

Meanwhile, the JASDF will deploy its four F-2 multi-role attack fighters and four F-15 Eagle aircraft.

On the inaugural day of Veer Guardian, the air forces will carry out several air drills in a complex environment along with other multi-domain air combat missions.

This will allow the participating forces to exchange a variety of tactics and techniques.

The experts from both nations will further conduct discussions to review and share their knowledge on different operational aspects of the drills.