IAF to participate in multilateral air drill in Israel

IAF to participate in multilateral air drill in Israel

A 45-member Indian Air Force contingent on Tuesday left for Israel in a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to participate in the multilateral Blue Flag air exercise, marking a new high in the Indo-Isreal relations.

This would be India's first participation in a military war game in Israel, which is now one of the biggest suppliers of military hardware in the Indian market.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first Indian prime minister to visit the Jewish nation in July.

To be held at Uvda Air Force Base between November 2-16, Blue Flag-2017 is a complex air exercise involving flying forces from eight nations, including the hosts.

"This is the first time the IAF is operating with the Israeli AF in a multilateral exercise setting. The exercise gives the opportunity to the IAF to share and learn best practices with some of the best professionals from other air forces," said a defence ministry official.

IAF's Garud commandos are part of the team, which is being led by Group Captain Maluk Singh.

Besides India, other participants in the Blue Flag 2017 are USA, Greece, Poland, France, Germany and Italy.

Close to 100 aircraft and hundreds of air warriors and support crews from these nations will gather at the Israeli air base for the two-week drill that aims at honing the type of planning, targeting and coordinated command and control demanded by coalitions operating in high-threat theatres.

India, France, Germany and Italy are the new entrants to the once-in-two-years multilateral exercise that began in 2013. Representatives from nearly 40 nations would be present as observers.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Army Chief is touring Indian in an official visit to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two militaries.

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