Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari and his French counterpart General Stéphane Mille took part in a joint exercise between the two countries at the Jodhpur air force station in Rajasthan on Tuesday.
Mille, chief of staff of the French Air and Space Force (FASF), flew in a Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft, while Chaudhari was in a Rafale fighter jet.
The two air chiefs stressed on the importance of air power as a major power in future conflicts “Leading by example. Chiefs from both the #IAF & @Armee_de_lair (FASF) took to the skies in one of the multi-aircraft missions flown during #ExerciseGaruda,” the IAF tweeted.
“The unique flight provided the perfect overview of the Exercise to both the Commanders,” it said.
Expressing his thrill over flying in the Su-30 for the first time, Mille said they can together carry out some high-level missions like refuelling mid-air during one-hour sorties by using the A-330 multi role tanker transport aircraft.
“We’ve learnt how to carry forward the interoperability and expose our pilots to each other’s best practices,” Mille told reporters.
Chaudhari also asserted the role of the air force in all future conflicts, stating that the IAF needed 4.5 generation aircraft in its inventory and four-five squadrons soon.
“There’s no doubt that air power is critical in deciding the outcomes of the conflicts,” Chaudhari said, adding that such exercises have a crucial role in honing the skills and experience.
He added that with each exercise, the degree of difficulty increases and the number of aircrafts participating also increases.
“We have four fleets participating in the exercise this time. LCH Tejas and French Multi Role Tanker Transport are the first time participants in this seventh edition of the Indo-French joint exercise,” he said.
The seventh edition of the bilateral exercise, Garuda VII, unfolded on October 26 and is slated to continue till November 12.
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