The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the US Air Force (USAF) have concluded the 12-day bilateral joint air exercise known as Cope India 2019 (CI19) with a ceremony at Kalaikunda Air Force Station.

CI19 is a US Pacific Air Forces-sponsored field training exercise designed to improve mutual cooperation, enhance trust between the two nations, and build on existing capabilities, aircrew tactics and force employment.

More than 200 US airmen and different transport aircraft and fighter jets from both nations took part in the exercise.

The USAF’s fleet of F15 Eagle and C-130J Super Hercules participated in the exercise along with the IAF’s Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, C-130J, airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft and refuelling aircraft.

“These exercise scenarios challenged us to be agile in execution, innovative in our approach and integrated in our command and control.”

13th Air Expeditionary Group-CI19 commander colonel Darryl Insley said: “Cope India exceeded US and IAF expectations. We learned from each other regarding operations, maintenance, logistics, crisis response, and many other capabilities that we can share with each other.”

IAF air officer commanding of Kalaikunda Air Force Station air commodore Saji Anthony added: “This is not an ‘us’ versus them scenario, we flew mixed formations and attempted to learn from each other’s best practices.”

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By GlobalData

The exercise, which saw observers from the Japan Air Self Defense Force, was held at two Indian air bases in Kalaikunda and Panagarh in West Bengal state this year.

PACAF commander general CQ Brown Jr said: “These exercise scenarios challenged us to be agile in execution, innovative in our approach and integrated in our command and control, enhancing the readiness and lethality of our airmen and our allies and partners.”

Cope India 2019 is the fourth iteration of the exercise, which began in 2004 as a fighter training exercise and was last held in 2009.