Desert Knight-21: Rafale fighters to be part of Indo-French air exercise
The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces
The Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force will conduct a bilateral air exercise, Ex Desert Knight-21 at Air Force Station Jodhpur from January 20 to 24. The exercise is unique as it includes fielding of Rafale aircraft by both sides and is indicative of the growing interaction between the two premiers Air Forces.
“French side will participate with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel. The Indian Air Force aircraft participating in the exercise will include Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft, AWACS, and AEW&C aircraft,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
The Indian Air Force posted on Twitter that it was all set for the drill.
"Indian Air Force preparing to #Bienvenue @Armee_de_lair as the IAF and the French Air and Space Force come together for a bilateral Air Exercise, #DesertKnight21, at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 20 to 24 Jan 21," it said.
#IndoFrenchEx— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) January 19, 2021
Indian Air Force preparing to #Bienvenue @Armee_de_lair as the IAF and the French Air and Space Force come together for a bilateral Air Exercise, #DesertKnight21, at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 20 to 24 Jan 21. pic.twitter.com/9GSADe4Cfe
The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces.
Notably, the Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force have held six editions of Air Exercises named 'Garuda', the latest being in 2019 at Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan, France.
As measures to further the existing cooperation, the two forces have been gainfully utilizing available opportunities to conduct 'hop-exercises'.
The French Air and Space Force deployment while ferrying to Australia for Ex Pitchblack in 2018 was hosted by IAF at Air Force Stations Agra and Gwalior for exercise with fighters and MRTT aircraft.
At present, the French detachment for Ex Desert Knight-21 is deployed in Asia as part of their 'Skyros Deployment' and will ferry in forces to Air Force Station Jodhpur.
As the two detachments commence their air exchange from January 20 onwards, they will put into practice operational experience gained across terrains and spectrums and endeavor to exchange ideas and best practices to enhance interoperability.