The joint UK / India air exercise Indra Dhanush 2010 which began on October 18th at Kalaikunda Airbase in West Bengal’s West Midnapur District has entered its final phase and is due to end on November 3rd. The RAF is participating with its Euro-fighters, VC-10 mid- air refuellers and E 3 D Sentry Airborne Early Warnings and Control Systems (AWACS) while the IAF is flying the SU 30s, Mirage 2000s, Mig-27s and their newly acquired AWACS.
So far some 120 flying missions have been flown. In the final phase a large number of aircraft in offensive and defensive roles are expected to be launched in ‘Waves’ in a limited airspace to test the skills of the fighter pilots, the AWACS and the ground controllers. High Value Air Asset (HVAA) protection missions which require a large number of aircraft are also to be carried out.
The exercise takes place with the backdrop of the 11 billion $ order for 126 MMRCA fighters that is to be placed soon by the Indian Air Force. The six competing fighters that the IAF has flight-tested over the last year include Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN Super Viper, Dassault’s Rafale, the Russian MiG-35, the Swedish Saab Gripen NG and the Eurofighter.