As a strategic outreach exercise with the defence forces of friendly foreign countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Indian Air Force will participate in operational engagements with the US Navy in an exercise to be carried out with Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) on 23 and 24 June. The CSG is currently deployed in the IOR. The Exercise in the AoR of Southern Air Command will see the IAF forces operate from bases under four operational commands and will include Jaguars & Su-30 MKI fighters, AWACS, AEW&C and Air to Air Refueller aircraft. The US CSG is expected to field F-18 fighters and E-2C Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft. The exercise will be carried out south of Thiruvananthapuram, on the western seaboard, over two days.
The exercise with the US CSG will focus on multiple areas including enhancing aspects of interoperability, nuances of international integrated maritime SAR operations and exchange of best practices in the maritime airpower domain. A press note from the IAF stated, “IAF has extensive experience in maritime operations in the IOR. This has been consolidated over the years by conduct of exercises from the country’s island territories, including participation in International exercises. The multi spectral capability of the IAF in IOR also includes HADR missions and logistics support undertaken in support of friendly nations in the region. This engagement with the US CSG offers one more opportunity to undertake joint operations in the maritime domain with a friendly foreign power.”