India plans own ‘Red Flag’ multilateral air drill

September 18th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning its own multilateral war games on the lines of the prestigious US Air Force Red Flag exercise to increase the interoperability of its assets with other air forces, a senior official said Thursday.”We are working out the possibility of our own multilateral exercise on the lines of Red Flag,” IAF vice chief, Air Marshal P.V. Naik, told reporters here.

An IAF contingent has just returned from the US after participating in Red Flag-08 at the Nellis Air Force base in Nevada. The IAF has, however, ruled out regular participation in the war game due to its prohibitively expensive cost of Rs.1 billion.

“Exercises like Red Flag are very expensive. A lot of training is required for pilots participating in it. We want to do such a major exercise only once in five years,” Naik said.

Impressed by the prowess of the IAF, the US Air Force had expressed its keenness to exercise with it on a regular basis in Red Flag, considered to be one of the toughest military exercises in the world.

The IAF’s frontline Sukhoi SU-30 MKI combat jets participated in Red Flag along with the US, South Korea and France.

Red Flag marked the maiden participation of the IAF in a multilateral war game. It, however, conducts regular bilateral exercises with the US Air Force, the Royal Air Force and the French Air Force.

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