The Indian and French air forces are set to conduct their fifth joint air exercise, Garuda, at Jodhpur airbase in Rajasthan from 3 June, unnamed Indian Air Force (IAF) officials have revealed.

Code-named Garuda-5, the ten day exercise aims to expose IAF pilots to French fighter tactics and French pilots to Indian fighter tactics, and also train IAF aircrew in air to air refuelling missions, as reported by Press Trust of India.

Involving participation from four Rafale multi-role combat aircraft, one air refueller aircraft, as well as more than 100 French Air Force personnel, the drill will focus on cross-servicing of a common type between ground crews and facilitate understanding of basic concepts of each country’s fighter operations.

Indian Defence spokesperson colonel SD Goswami was quoted by the news agency as saying ‘the focus of the air exercise from 3-13 June is learning from each other’s best practices’.

During the exercise, participants are expected to perform multiple missions, including close combat engagement of large forces, slow mover safety, as well as protection and engagement of high-value aerial assets at the strategic airbase located near Indo-Pak border.

The exercise will primarily focus on air to air refuelling, basic and advanced fighter interceptions, protection of high-value aerial targets and group combat manoeuvring, according to the officials.

The last iteration of the exercise, Garuda 4, was conducted at the Istres Air Base in France, from 14 to 25 June 2010, and was also joined by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) along with their F-16 Fighting Falcon and KC-135 aircraft.

Image: Garuda-5 exercise will feature four Rafale multi-role combat aircraft. Photo: courtesy of KGyST.

Defence Technology