The Air Forces of India and the U.S. on 13 May 2016 concluded the 2016 Red Flag aerial combat exercises at Alaska in the U.S.
A successor to the Cope Thunder exercise series, the main phase of the Red Flag exercises had commenced on 28 April 2016 with a mix of combat and support elements from the Indian Air Force (IAF), US Air Force (USAF) and US Navy (USN).
The four-week long aerial combat exercises were held at the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, United States of America. This was the second time India had participated in such an exercise after 2008.
Key highlights of 2016 Red Flag aerial combat exercises
• A team of over 170 Indian Air Force personnel was part of the exercises.
• The Indian Air Force flew 10 aircraft: four Su-30MKIs, four Jaguars and two IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers.
• The objective of this inter-continental deployment was to showcase the IAF’s capability in undertaking integrated air ops and to imbibe operational lessons from the exercise engagements.
• During the exercise, IAF also flew as a part of the Red Force (simulated as the Defensive force component fighting to protect own airspace and assets) alongside the Aggressors which was a first of its kind.
• The IAF Jaguars DARIN II undertook integrated strike missions dropping practice bombs over the world renowned JPARC Air to Ground Range.
• The temperatures were sub-zero during a large part of the exercise.
About Exercise Red Flag
• Exercise Red Flag is an advanced aerial combat training exercise hosted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
• Red Flag – Alaska is held at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. It is a successor to the previous COPE THUNDER exercise series in the Western Pacific and Alaska.
• The purpose of the exercises is to train pilots and other flight crew members from the U.S., NATO and other allied countries for real air combat situations. This includes the use of enemy hardware and live ammunition for bombing exercises within the adjacent Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).
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When: 13 May 2016