Updated June 1st, 2024 at 13:57 IST

Indian Air Force Contingent Joins Advanced Aerial Combat Training at Red Flag-Alaska 24-2

An Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent arrived at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska on Thursday to participate in the multinational exercise 'Red Flag 24'.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Red Flag 24 | Image:IAF
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Alaska: An Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent arrived at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska on Thursday to participate in the multinational exercise 'Red Flag 24'. This advanced aerial combat training exercise, spanning two weeks, is set to begin on May 30 and run through June 14. The IAF announced their arrival via a post on X, stating, “Onwards and Upwards. An IAF contingent arrived today at the Eielson AF Base of @usairforce, at Alaska, USA, to participate in the upcoming edition of the multi-national exercise Red Flag 24.”

Red Flag-Alaska 24-2 is a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise designed to provide realistic training in a simulated combat environment. The exercise aims to enhance the combat readiness of participating forces through exposure to complex, large-scale joint engagements. It also facilitates the exchange of tactics, techniques, and procedures among allied forces, improving interoperability.  

Over 3100 Service Members and 100 Aircraft from 4 Nations to Participate  

Approximately 3100 service members are expected to fly, maintain, and support more than 100 aircraft from four nations scheduled to participate in Red Flag-Alaska 24-2. The primary flight operations will take place over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the largest combat training range in the world, spanning over 77,000 square miles. Aircraft will be based at Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.  

The training exercises at Red Flag-Alaska encompass a wide range of scenarios, from individual skills to complex joint engagements. This comprehensive approach aims to create a realistic threat environment, allowing forces to integrate seamlessly and operate effectively in multinational settings. The IAF's participation underscores India's commitment to enhancing its operational capabilities and fostering stronger defence ties with allied nations.  

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IAF Rafale Jets' Transatlantic Journey and Strategic Collaborations  

While en route to Alaska, the IAF Rafale fighter jets undertook a transatlantic flight, making staging halts in Greece and Portugal. "Ably supported by its IL-78 air-to-air refuellers and the C-17 transport aircraft, the IAF Rafale fighters took a transatlantic flight with staging halts at Greece and Portugal," the IAF stated. This journey highlights the logistical capabilities and operational readiness of the IAF.

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Earlier in May, the Indo-US joint working group, operating under the Defence Tech and Trade Initiative (DTTI), convened for a pivotal two-day meeting in New Delhi. This meeting aimed to bolster defence collaboration between the two nations, focusing on co-production and leveraging respective strengths. The discussions, led by IAF Deputy Chief Air Marshal Ashutosh Dixit and American Brig Gen Joel W Safranek, emphasized overcoming challenges through partnership and cooperative research.  

Future Prospects and Strategic Importance  

During the intensive sessions in New Delhi, key officials, including Brig Gen Joel W Safranek and Air Vice Marshal George Thomas, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Plans), explored strategic plans to deepen bilateral defence ties. The focus was on aligning efforts with the objectives set forth by the DTTI mechanism established in 2012, which aims to enhance defence cooperation and co-production.  

The participation of the IAF in Exercise Red Flag 24 and the ongoing strategic collaborations with the US underscore the strengthening of defense ties between the two nations. Such exercises and meetings are pivotal in enhancing the operational capabilities of the IAF, fostering interoperability, and ensuring preparedness for future challenges.   

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As the IAF continues to engage in multinational exercises and strategic partnerships, its role in global defence cooperation and regional stability is poised to expand. The successful completion of Red Flag 24 will not only enhance the IAF's combat readiness but also reinforce India's commitment to contributing to global peace and security. 

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Published June 1st, 2024 at 13:57 IST