IAF Contingent Returns After Successful Participation in Ex Red Flag 2024

An Indian Air Force contingent has successfully concluded its participation in Exercise Red Flag 2024 held at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, by the United States Air Force from 4-14 June 2024. This exercise marked the second edition of Red Flag 2024, a prominent advanced aerial combat training event conducted four times annually by the US Air Force. The exercise saw active involvement from the IAF, alongside the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), German Luftwaffe, and the US Air Force (USAF).

The IAF contingent participated with their Rafale aircraft, supported by aircrew, technicians, engineers, controllers, and subject matter experts. The Rafale fighter aircraft were ferried across the Atlantic with the assistance of IL-78 air to air refuellers (AAR), while personnel and equipment were transported using the C-17 Globemaster aircraft. The contingent arrived at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska on 29 May 2024.

Exercise Red Flag is designed to simulate realistic combat scenarios, with distinct forces assigned roles: the Red Force simulating Air Defence elements, and the Blue Force simulating Offensive Composite elements. During this edition, the Red Force predominantly comprised the USAF Aggressor Squadron operating F-16 and F-15 aircraft.

This exercise marked the debut of IAF Rafale aircraft in Exercise Red Flag, where they operated alongside RSAF, USAF F-16s and F-15s, as well as USAF A-10 aircraft. The missions included Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat exercises as part of Large Force Engagements (LFE), focusing on Offensive Counter Air and Air Defence roles. IAF crew members actively participated in mission planning and served as Mission Leaders for designated tasks throughout the exercise.

Despite challenging weather conditions and near sub-zero temperatures, IAF maintenance crews diligently ensured the operational readiness of all aircraft throughout the exercise, enabling the completion of over 100 sorties.

Key takeaways from the exercise include insights into interoperability with international partners and a collaborative understanding of operational strategies in a multinational environment. The experience of ferrying aircraft over long distances, supported by air to air refuelling, was particularly enriching and exciting for younger crew members.

Upon their return journey, the contingent split enroute with mutual support elements, engaging in exercises with Air Force units of Greece and Egypt, before returning to India on 24 June 2024. Equipped with the valuable experience gained from Exercise Red Flag, the IAF eagerly anticipates hosting participating contingents from other nations during Ex-Tarang Shakti-2024, India’s inaugural multinational air exercise scheduled later this year.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call us