French Air Force with a contingent of 220 personnel come to participate in bilateral air exercise ‘Garuda VIl’

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New Delhi: The sky of Jodhpur on the western border of Pakistan is resonating with the fighter planes of the Indian and French air forces these days. The French Air Force with a contingent of 220 personnel is participating in the ongoing bilateral air exercise ‘Garuda VIl’ between the two countries at Jodhpur Air Force Station. Fighter jets of the Indian Air Force are learning the techniques of fighting each other in the air with four Rafale fighter jets from France.

The bilateral air exercise ‘Garuda VIl’ between the Indian Air Force and the French Air and Space Force (FASF) began on 26 October and will continue till 12 November. The French Air Force has come to India with its four Rafale fighter aircraft, an A-330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft and a contingent of 220 personnel to take part in the exercise. India is also participating with Sukhoi-30 MKI, Rafale, LCA Tejas and Jaguar fighter jets, Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) and Mi-17 helicopters.

Flight Refueling Aircraft, Aerial Warning and Control System (AWACS) and Airborne Early Warning and Control System are also part of this combat exercise in the Indian Air Force contingent. This joint exercise will provide a platform for both the countries to share best practices as well as enhance operational efficiencies and interactivity. This is the seventh edition of the bilateral exercise. The first, third and fifth editions were conducted at Indian Air Force stations in Gwalior, Kalaikunda and Jodhpur in 2003, 2006 and 2014 respectively. The second, fourth and sixth editions took place in France in 2005, 2010 and 2019.

The participation of the Indian Air Force and FASF in this exercise will promote professional interaction, exchange of experiences and operations besides strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries. The exercise is conducted with an aim to enhance the interoperability of French and Indian crew in air defense and ground attack missions. Once every two years, there are strength training exercises with the Air Forces of India and France, Garuda with the Navies and Varuna with the Armies.

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