The India-US military exercise comes just days after India and France completed heir five-day mega air exercise near Jodhpur last month. IAF's Rafale fighter jets also took part in the complex air manoeuvres to enhance operational coordination with the French Air Force.
The exercise named 'Ex-Desert Knight 21' took place at a time when the Indian Air Force has been keeping all its frontline bases across the country on high state of operational readiness amid the India-China border standoff in eastern Ladakh.
Photo Courtesy: IAF
India, France deploy frontline fighter jets
Both India and French Air Forces deploed frontline fighter jets as well as transport, and tanker aircraft in the exercise.
The French and Indian Air forces have been conducting the Garuda exercises for the last several years as part of efforts to boost operational cooperation.
Photo Courtesy: IAF
Rafale fighter jets at Jodhpur
India had already ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets and eight super jets from France have already arrived in India giving the Indian Air Force an edge over its chief adversaries - Pakistan and China.
India and France had last week taken part in a five-day mega air exercise near Jodhpur with IAF's Rafale fighter jets will be taking part in the complex air manoeuvres to enhance operational coordination with the French Air Force.
The exercise named 'Ex-Desert Knight 21' took place at a time when the Indian Air Force has been keeping all its frontline bases across the country on a high state of operational readiness amid the India-China border standoff in eastern Ladakh.
Photo Courtesy: IAF
India, France excercise amid China standoff
The Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.
The newly inducted fleet has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh. With a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, the combat aircraft can reach maximum speeds of 750 knots.
It can carry out both air-to-ground strikes, as well as air-to-air attacks and interceptions during the same sortie.
Rafale's air-to-air missile capability
The Rafale jet is capable of performing several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles during a very low altitude penetration phase, giving it outstanding survivability.
The mission system of the Rafale has the potential to integrate a variety of current and future armaments.
The Rafale jets has been cleared to operate weapons like the MICA air-to-air 'Beyond Visual Range' (BVR) interception, combat and self-defence missiles, the METEOR very long-range air-to-air missile, the HAMMER - Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range - modular, rocket-boosted air-to-ground precision-guided weapon series, laser-guided bombs with different warheads, and "specifics armaments" selected by some clients.
Rafale fitted with 14 hardpoints
The Rafale is also fitted with 14 hardpoints, out of which five are capable of drop tanks and heavy ordnance.
The jet's total external load capacity is more than nine tonnes.
"Hence, Rafale can lift the equivalent of its own empty weight in payloads," according to Dassault. As per the manufacturers, the pilot interface is very easy to use and relies on a highly integrated suite of equipment which has capabilities for short-term, medium and long-term actions.
The design of the cockpit gives a wide field of view at the front, on both sides, and at the rear.
Rafale to be part of Republic Day fly past
Two newly inducted Rafale fighter jets will be a part of this year's India's Republic Day flypast, to be held in the national capital city, New Delhi. This is the first time that these fighter jets will be part of Republic Day flyp past.
They will be a part of two different formations. The name of the mixed formation in which the first Rafale will take part is Eklavya. Interestingly, the name of the last formation that will see a single Rafale is "Brahamastra", which means weapons that can destroy everything.