A senior US Air Force (USAF) officer on Monday underlined the necessity to conduct joint exercises with the Indian Air Force (IAF) frequently while praising the latter for its skills and power. Colonel Darryl Insley of the USAF said, “The most important part to conduct a joint exercise with the IAF is to learn from them. We are looking for such engagements with the IAF in future. We also conduct joint air exercises with other countries.”
He elaborated, “India has a fantastic air force. It gives us the scope to learn a lot from them. We need to continue this relation. We also need to carry out such air exercises further and have more frequent engagements and not in every five or 10 years.” Col Insley was speaking at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station (AFS) in West Midnapore where the USAF and IAF have been conducting the joint air exercise: Cope India 2018 from December 3 to 14.
He is also the 13 Air Expeditionary Group commander of the USAF for the exercise which has been underway at the AFS Arjan Singh in Panagarh also. On the IAF’s capability Col Insley noted, “Their capabilities are equal to our operation. There are also similarities between us in the context of technicalities.”
Air Commodore J S Mann, who is the exercise director from the IAF, said, “When you operate together, you get a very good operational exposure. In this exercise, we have carried out sorties in mixed formations involving F-15, Su-30, Mirage 2000 aircraft. We are following a building block approach here. There are three phases in the exercise. The first phase is close combat. The second phase covers the basic beyond visual range missiles combat while the third phase is about advanced beyond visual range missile combat. The number of aircraft involved goes up to 30 till a height of 46,000 ft.”
The USAF is participating in the exercise with a contingent of 212 air warriors, including 40 fighter pilots, a dozen F-15 aircraft and three C130H aircraft. IAF contingent includes 10 Sukhoi 30, six Jaguars and five Mirage 2000 aircraft and an AWACS aircraft. Both the forces have engaged its special forces also.
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