Amid growing ties between India and the Arab world, six India Air Force (IAF) Su-30-MKI fighters will take off for the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday to participate in the multinational exercise 'Desert Flag'.
The exercise comes soon after the Rafale jets were provided mid-air refuelling support by the Emirate's Air Force tankers while they were coming to India from France.
France, Saudi Arabia scheduled to take part
IAF's Su-30-MKI fighters will take off for UAE on March 3 to participate in multinational exercise Desert Flag to be held there for three weeks.
Ten countries including France and Saudi Arabia are scheduled to take part in the exercise.
IAF's two C-17s will join the India team for the exercise, officials said.
Desert Knight 2021
The IAF had recently carried out an exercise codenamed "Desert Knight 2021" with France over Jodhpur involving their and own Rafale fighter jets.
'Ex-Desert Knight 21' had taken place at a time when the Indian Air Force was keeping all its frontline bases across the country on high state of operational readiness amid the India-China border standoff in eastern Ladakh.
The ties between India and the Arab world including the UAE has been on a growth trajectory as recently Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE to strengthen military-to-military ties.
Both India and French Air Forces had deployed frontline fighter jets as well as transport and tanker aircraft during 'Ex-Desert Knight 21' 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.
India had already ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets and eight super jets from France have already arrived in India giving the IAF an edge over its chief adversaries - Pakistan and China.
India and France had taken part in a five-day mega air exercise near Jodhpur with IAF's Rafale fighter jets taking part in the complex air manoeuvres to enhance operational coordination with the French Air Force.
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.
SLAF and IAF to take part in air show
The Indian Air Force(IAF) is set to participate in the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lankan Air Force(SLAF) with Suryakirans, Sarang and LCA Tejas to participate in an air show at Galle Face, Colombo, scheduled from March 3-5.
Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force had invited the IAF team to take part in the event. IAF and SLAF have seen active exchanges and interactions for a number of years in diverse fields like training, operational exchanges and through professional military education courses.
The IAF Suryakiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) had earlier toured Sri Lanka in 2001 for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the SLAF.