After Limited participation in the war exercises in the Bay of Bengal with the US, its NATO allies and other countries, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is now preparing to participate in the Red Flag Nellis 2008 aerial manoeuvres next year.
IAF chief FH Major said on Friday: “It is one of the most sought after exercises. We have bid for it and sought the government’s approval.”
Defending the decision to participate in exercises with forces from different countries, including those that follow NATO standard operating procedures (SOPs), the Major said: “Joint exercises are a part of the learning curve. We get the opportunity of exchanging notes with air forces that are more modern and better equipped than ours.”
The IAF chief said joint exercises are particularly important as the force is acquiring new technologies and equipment.
He pointed that participants had learnt about the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) in an earlier exercise. “We will get our first AWACS by next year. So, it will be a considerable help,” he said.
Red Flag exercises, conducted in four to six cycles in a year by a combat training squadron of the USAF, are realistic aerial war games in which pilots from the US, other NATO and allied countries are trained for real combat situations.