Kalaikunda: The Indian Air Force (IAF) base here will host the eight-week-long seventh edition of the joint military training activities with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) from October 14, a defense spokesman said.
The training was earlier announced to begin October 8, which also happens to be Air Force Day in India.
The RSAF detachment comprising 150 personnel will deploy eight F-16 D+ aircraft, one P-STAR radar and two units of RBS 70 surface-to-air missile firing units. Significantly, Swedish defense company, Saab, is offering the newer variant of the RBS 70, the RBS 70 NG, for the Indian tri-service tender for Very Short Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) systems.
The IAF will field MiG-27 and MiG-21 aircraft of the resident squadrons at the airbase. The flying exercises will be held for 30 days, the spokesman said.
The joint training, first held in 2006, is aimed at enhancing mutual operational understanding and refine procedures for future joint exercises between the two countries. The training will lead to “exchange of best practices” on all professional aspects, he said.
The RSAF pilots will also carry out air-to-ground firing practice at IAF’s Dudhkundi firing range, situated 40 km from the airbase. It will, however, be the first time that RSAF pilots will carry out night flying training at the airbase.
The spokesman said infrastructure at the airbase has been developed to exacting international standards and it has become an airfield of choice for hosting major international air exercises in recent years.
Kalaikunda airfield, one of the oldest airfields under the Eastern Air Command, came into existence during the Second World War as a forward airfield against the Japanese.
The airbase that once hosted the B-24 Liberator, an American heavy bomber, was also one of the four B-29 Super Fortress bases of the US Air Force in India.