Study Material | Test Series
Drishti IAS
call1800-121-6260 / 011-47532596
Drishti The Vision Foundation
(A unit of VDK Eduventures Pvt. Ltd.)
India-US 'Red Flag' Aerial Combat Exercise
May 17, 2016

An Indian Air Force (IAF) team successfully concluded Red Flag Alaska 16-1, an advanced aerial combat training exercise at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, United States on May 14. A successor to the Cope Thunder exercise series, the main phase of the exercise had commenced on April 28 with a mix of combat and support elements from the IAF, US Air Force (USAF) and US Navy (USN).

Key Features

  • The IAF and the U.S. concluded their four-week Red Flag aerial combat exercises at Alaska in the U.S. on May 14.

  • The two forces simulated realistic aerial combat scenarios in a networked environment.

  • The IAF flew 10 aircrafts—four Su-30MKIs, four Jaguars and two IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers.

  • A team of over 170 personnel was part of the exercises held from April 28 to May 13.

  • The objective of this inter-continental deployment was not only to showcase the IAF’s capability in undertaking integrated air operations but also to imbibe operational lessons from the exercise engagements, which will help add more teeth to overall war waging capabilities.

  • The exercise is played under the multiple simulated scenario designed to provide realistic settings with a Red Force, defending their airspace and assets, and a Blue Force acting as the offensive side.

  • Red Force was largely constituted by U.S. F-16 fighters, while the IAF planes, along with other US Air Force aircrafts such as F-15, F-16 and F-22 and the U.S. Navy F-18, constituted the Blue Force.

  • The teams had to endure sub-zero temperatures during most of the exercise, which posed a challenge to the maintenance team despite which they managed to maintain 100 per cent serviceability of all platforms.

  • The IAF fighters have always flown with their radars switched off during exercises with the U.S. so as not to reveal the radar signatures.

  • The Indian team adopted a philosophy of ‘Crawl, Walk & Run’, signifying a progressive build up in the effort, pace and complexities of training sorties that were flown through the work-up phase.

  • The intent during the distant frontier phase was to expose the participating members, especially aircrew, to an international environment and familiarise them with local flying procedures, radio telephony terminologies, NATO Brevity codes and airspace and environmental peculiarities.

  • Eielson air force base, where the contingent was deployed, is located 26 miles south east of Fairbanks town and it boasts of having one of the best operating environment in the US.

  • The base houses the elite 18th aggressor squadron of USAF, which is flying the F-16 aircraft. In addition, the base also has a KC-135 squadron and the Air National Guard element apart from other facilities

  • However, the exercises are an expensive endeavour and hence, the IAF had decided to participate once in five years. This edition is believed to have cost over Rs. 100 crore. This was the second time IAF participated in the Red Flag exercise.

Over the past decade, IAF has been actively participating in various operational exercises hosted by various countries where its capabilities have been pitted against the best Air Forces in the world.


Helpline Number : 87501 87501
To Subscribe Newsletter and Get Updates.