MONT-DE-MARSAN, FRANCE – From July 1 to 12, French Rafales, French Mirage 2000s and Indian Flankers operated together during joint tactical exercise GARUDA 2019 in France.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed 4 Su-30MKI Flankers, belonging to the 15th Wing (based at Bareily AFS), along with an Il-78MKI Midas aerial refueler from the 78th Sqn (based at Agra AFS), to Mont-de-Marsan in France for Exercise GARUDA 2019. A C-17 Globemaster III airlifter supported the deployment of 120 military that took part in the 2 week exercise. It’s the largest joint exercise for the IAF this year.
The Su-30MKI is a two-seat multirole derivative of the Su-27 Flanker. The Su-30MKI is fitted with canard wings in the front (just above the air intakes) and thrust-vectoring nozzles which improved the agility of the Flanker.
This was the 6th edition of the Indian and French Air Force exercise. The last exercise – GARUDA V – was held in India in June 2014 at Air Force Station Jodhpur.
The purpose of GARUDA 2019 was to enhance understanding of interoperability during mutual operations between the French and Indian Air Force. This provided an opportunity to learn from each other. The focus was mainly in the joint operations of the Indian Flankers and the French Rafales. The Indian Air Force will start receiving their Rafales soon in September this year.
(Image: from Indian Air Force video)