The exercise Garuda 2010, which began on June 14 at Istres Air Base in France, conducted between the Indian Air Force (IAF), French Armée de l’Air (ALA) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), is nearing its end now, with over 60 missions successfully flown.
Wing Commander Mahesh Upasni of the IAF, the Media Officer for Exercise Garuda sent a dispatch saying, “During the exercise, the six IAF Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft along with the ALA Mirage-2000-5 and Rafale and the RSAF F-16 were engaged in various air defense maneuvers such as implementation of ‘no fly zones’ and large force engagements during day and night. The Sukhoi-30 MKI also took part in high value airborne asset protection as well as protection-busting missions. The IL-78 refuellers of the IAF and the KC-135 refuellers of the ALA also participated in various missions carrying out cross refueling (refueling the fighters of the other air forces). Refueling denials were practiced making these missions more difficult.”
He also wrote, “A unique feature to which the Sukhoi-30 MKI were subjected was the ‘swing roles’. In these type of missions, the same aircraft is simultaneously put to offensive as well as defensive roles. The E-3 AWACS provided the radar coverage during the exercise. The IAF special forces team, Garud, have so far carried out two jumps each, by day and night, along with the French special forces. Our IL-76 is undertaking the task of these drops.”
He quotes Air Marshal KK Nowhar, IAF, who visited the contingent involved in Garuda 2010 as saying, “Our participation in the exercise has reinforced the manner in which we conduct our operations. It has also helped us refine our doctrine. In future, there is a slim chance that a country would operate in isolation especially in a cooperative defense scenario. Thus knowing each others best practices in terms of tactics, techniques and procedures is the main objective of this exercise, which is also a part of the ongoing Indo-French defense cooperation”.
Wing Commander Upasni writes, “The intensity of the exercise has been increased gradually to enhance the understanding of the contingent members beginning with basic One-versus-One missions and limited BVR (Beyond Visual Range) capabilities, subsequently progressing to multi-aircraft strikes and counter air missions with complete BVR capability, and then concluding with Large Force Engagement sorties.”
The exercise is to conclude on Friday and the IAF contingent is expected to return to India a week later.