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Indian Air Force to participate in Exercise Red Flag

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Serial Nos. of IAF aircraft participating in REd Flag:


SB 042 SU-30MKI

SB 046 SU-30MKI

SB 048 SU-30MKI

SB 049 SU-30MKI

SB 107 SU-30MKI

SB 109 SU-30MKI

SB 110 SU-30MKI

SB 115 SU-30MKI


K-2661 IL-76MD

RK-3453 IL-78MKI

RK-3454 IL-78MKI


Among the Su-30s, four airframes are HAL built Mk.III variants(107,109,110,115).


Hey Stick,do you know to which sqdn these airframes belong to? I know for sure SB042 & 046 were in service with No.30 "Rhinos". IIRC,according to one of the newspapaer reports, One of the MKI sqdns (detachment??) had moved to Jamnagar AFS along with Jaguar IMs of No. 6 Sqdn.


Red Flag Participants

August 2008


Red Air

F-15s and F-16s, Nellis AFB, Nev.


Blue Air

F-15s, Jacksonville, Fla.

F-15s, Eglin AFB, Fla.

Rafale', French Air Force




Rafale', French Air Force

F-15s, Nellis AFB, Nev.

SU-30s, Indian Air Force

F-15Ks, Republic of Korea Air Force


Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses

EA-6Bs, NAS Whidbey Island, Wash.

F-16s, Nellis AFB, Nev.

F-16s, Eglin AFB, Fla.

EC-130Hs, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.


Command and Control; Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance

E-3s, Tinker AFB, Okla.



C-130s, French Air Force

C-17s, McChord AFB, Wash.


Air Refueling


KC-135s, unit to be determined

IL-76/78, Indian Air Force

Edited by ghostrider883

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Here in Brasil, we are very curious to see what our proudly "Pampa" F-5M (modernized) squadron could do with facing the americans F-15 and F-16 on Red Flag 8-03.

And I'm a big fan of India Air Force, the COPE 2004 exercise made this happens. Good chasse to Brazilian and Indian Pilots. :good:

Edited by aerdelta777

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107 is a Rhino. went to Waddington last year.

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I wish they had taken some formation photos with USAF birds such as the Aggressor F-15s etc


Me too :yes:

That pic would be a perfect Hangar Screen for Marcelo's Su-30MKI.

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An interesting article as to what is going in the exercises


India's Su-30MKI aircraft offers an especially attractive target. It carries the Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Design NIIP-BARS radar that so far has only been seen on the MKI. But it's considered a variant of what NIIP developed for Russia's new Su-35 multi-role aircraft and what it's working on for the next-generation PAK-FA fifth-generation stealth fighter.


One long-time military analyst mused to Aviation Week that the event might provide insight, although it was no certainty. "I'll bet your [intelligence] boys hovered up every little squiggly amp from BARS. [Yet] sometimes the [radar's] training mode is just a software package that emulates the radar transmissions, but it's actually not emitting."


Indeed, to observers' dismay, and no doubt to that of the U.S. intelligence community, the IAF flew with a number of handicaps, some of them self-imposed, some not.


Their powerful Russian-made radar was, in fact, emitting, says Choudhry, but operating only in the training mode which limited all its range and spectrum of capabilities. In addition, the IAF wasn't allowed to use chaff and flares to avoid being targeted by surface-to-air missiles nor did its aircraft have the common data link. CDL brings a flow of targeting information into the cockpit displays that improves the accuracy and speed of data transfer and eliminates the need for most communications. The Indian air crews had to rely on voice communications which slowed the process and limited situational awareness.


Despite its limitations, the Su-30MKI's radar was able enough to allow the IAF's Sukhois to participate in a beyond-visual-range fight with U.S. aggressor aircraft carrying simulated AA-10C air-to-air missiles. Because there were so many foreign aircraft capable of offensive counter-air/escort missions (including French Rafales and South Korean F-15Ks), the Sukhois are flying fewer air-to-air missions than Indian team members had hoped, Choudhry says.


"It was almost what we expected," Choudhry says. "Because we couldn't use our chaff and flares, when we were targeted by SAMs we were shot down. And there was no picture in the cockpit to help our situational awareness so the workload on the [aircrews] was very high." Nonetheless, "We came a long way. We trained hard. And the degree of difficulty was not unexpected."

Edited by ghostrider883

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I'm all for training scenarios where your equipment/forces aren't at perfect fighting strength. After all, the enemy may not be so kind as to wait for you to be at 100% readiness. :grin: That said, I only agree with it when there are legitimate training benefits to be gained. Artificial restrictions based on political decisions do not necessarily fit that way.

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You think RUssia will be happy at seeing one of their more sophisticated radars being fully used by IAF fighters so that the US could completely know its capabilities?

What if in the future IAF selects F-18 as its next MRCA and flies in joint exercises with RuAF with their AESA radar running at full power?

The objective of this execercises is to build interoperability & joint traning of the air forces. While both the countries know spying on each others equipment is going on, would it be wise for the IAF to fully use its radars, knowing fully well that the know-how learnt by the USAF to beat/blind the Indian Flanker radars could end up on Paki F-16s?

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I think America has learnt Kissinger is a first class idiot and that Pakistan isnt the best of allies.

If we forgot our politics it would be the best thing that happened to humanity. But that is utopian.

Looking at the way things are shaping up I wouldnt be suprised if Cold War 2 was on its way.

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To the best of my knowledge, I thought the invitation to India was precisely for that purpose Ghost said, of inter-operability between IAF and USAF commands. Besides, turnabout's fair play. The US wouldn't want information about the F-22's systems leaking to any competing nations. And given that Pakistani military has shown that it will take advantage of any (perceived) advantage, keeping said information from the allies of a national enemy is a prudent measure for India. Besides, given the right conditions, Pakistan could easily become Iran: 1979 Mk.2, except with sharper teeth...

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NEW DELHI: Impressed with the combat skills of IAF top-gun pilots flying Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, IL-78 mid-air refuellers and IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft, the US would like IAF to take part in the "Red Flag" wargames on a regular basis.


"IAF is a world-class air force, with great aircraft and great leadership. It's a great training opportunity for USAF and IAF to integrate our assets in a training environment. We would like to have IAF here as a regular participant," said Captain Marcus 'Spike' Wilson, leader of American F-15s and F-16s, during the ongoing exercise at Nellis US Air Force base in Nevada.


In its largest-ever overseas deployment, IAF's six Sukhois, two IL-78 and one IL-76 aircraft, along with 247 personnel, are now in the final "run" phase of the Red Flag exercise, pitting their skills against American F-15s and F-16s, as also French Rafale fighters and South Korean F-15K jets.


"During this phase of the exercise, present-day air battles are replicated, with air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks in full flow. The success of the missions is dependent on the situational awareness of all the persons involved," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani told TOI over the phone.


"Hence, the network-centric operations are the pivot on which life and death rests. The main challenge for the IAF team has been to adapt to the USAF network and also carry out 'stand alone' tasks simultaneously. IAF pilots have done this with amazing dexterity," he added.


The USAF, of course, is quite excited about witnessing the frontline Russian-origin Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, which are taking part in wargames on US territory for the first time.


As reported by TOI earlier, India is shelling out around Rs 100 crore to take part in the world-famous Red Flag air combat manoeuvres, which are being touted as a new high in Indo-US military ties. IAF fighter pilots have certainly proved more than a match for American, French, British and other pilots in combat exercises over the last few years. During the Indo-US "Cope India" exercise at Gwalior in February 2004, the first such air wargames between the two countries since 1963, for instance, IAF pilots flying Sukhois and other jets had simply outgunned USAF pilots in their F-15C fighters.


Soon after, IAF pilots had flown Jaguar strike fighters all the way to Alaska to participate in the multinational Cope-Thunder exercise there. Then, in November 2005, the next Cope India exercise at Kalaikunda in West Bengal saw IAF fighters successfully take on the American F-16s.

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Picture Gallery of IAF Sukhois at Red Flag:
















India’s top-notch Sukhoi-30MKIs were inadvertently caught in the middle of the bitter US-Iran feud when Tehran refused permission to the fighter jets to fly over its territory on way to the US in July to take part in Red Flag air combat exercise.


This has come to light now after the IAF contingent of eight Sukhois, two IL-78 mid-air refuellers and an IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft, along with 91 officers and 156 airmen, returned to India last week after the gruelling world-famous wargames at the Nellis US Air Force base in Nevada.


Sources said IAF’s ‘‘initial routing plan through Iran’’ went completely haywire after Tehran refused permission to its aircraft to overfly its territory just a few days before they were scheduled to take off from Pune and other airbases on July 7. ‘‘Iran made it very clear that if you are flying to the US, you cannot fly over our country. This sent the IAF team scrambling to chart out an alternate route and arrange more visas for the entire team,’’ said a source. Can anyone be so stupid?


The ‘‘new routing’’ saw the IAF contingent taking ‘‘an awkward, circuitous path’’, with the Sukhois and other aircraft first heading for Qatar (Doha) and then flying over Egypt before finally heading north to Turkey (Corlu).

After a stopover at Corlu on July 11, they crossed the Mediterranean to land at the French airbase Mont De Marsan before finally reaching the US mainland on July 17 after hopping through Lajes (Portugal) in a mind-boggling 19,212-km journey, interspersed by mid-air refuelling over the high seas.


India, of course, is caught right in the middle of the ongoing bitter spat between Iran and the US, with the latter accusing the former of trying to covertly make atomic bombs under the cover of its civilian nuclear programme.


Both US and Israel have not ruled out the possibility of pre-emptive military strikes to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. In fact, the Israeli Air Force had even held an exercise over the Mediterranean in June, which was widely believed to be the simulation of a strike against Iranian nuclear installations.


This could have spooked Iran into denying permission to the Indian fighters, wary as it is of the ever-growing strategic embrace between India and the US, which has seen the two hold as many as 50 joint combat exercises in the last seven years to build ‘‘interoperability’’.


India’s long-standing ties with Iran, in fact, took a big hit when New Delhi voted against Tehran in the IAEA board of governors’ meetings in September 2005 and March 2006.


But while India remains opposed to the further spread of nuclear weapons, it wants the Iranian nuclear issue to be resolved through peaceful diplomacy, holding that the IAEA framework provides the best forum to address technical aspects of the issue.


Since then, India has tried to mend fences with Iran, even hosting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a brief visit in April after strongly rebuffing a call by the US to ask Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.


So, in addition to the realistic war scenario and network-centric environment at the Red Flag wargames, the IAF contingent - which followed almost the same route on its way back - also got a dose of geopolitics in the bargain


PAF to participate in Red Flag next year

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Here's a nice little documentry on Indian participation at Red Flag, that aired on NDTV last night....good sound & video quality. There's a clip from inside an IL-78 that shows an SU-30 taking fuel from an Il-78. There's interview of IAF's elite "Garud" Force commandos.


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