India Air Force in Israel for First-ever Joint Military Exercise

India will participate in the Blue Flag training event with a C-130J special operations aircraft and Garud commandos

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Indian Air Force C-130J special operations aircraft.
Indian Air Force C-130J special operations aircraft.Credit: Alan Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

A delegation of the India Air Force landed in Israel on Wednesday to participate in the biennial Blue Flag exercise, which will take place from November 2 to 16 at the Ovda Airbase in southern Israel.

According to India's Ministry of Defense, "This is the first time the Indian Air Force is operating with Israeli AF in a multilateral exercise setting."

India will participate in the training event with a C-130J special operations aircraft and Garud commandos, the statement said. 

Read more: Why India Loves Israel: For Its Brains - Opinion

"The exercise would provide a platform for sharing of knowledge, combat experience and in improving operational capability of the participating nations," the ministry added.

This year, Blue Flag will have many firsts. With almost 70 foreign planes from nine countries, along with hundreds of pilots, scheduled to take part, the event will constitute the first time such a large number of foreign planes and air forces will participate in a training exercise in Israel.

In another first, Germany has sent fighter jets to the excercise, along with an aerial refueling plane, pilots and senior officials from its army and air force. 

In addition to India and Germany, France will send its Rafale fighter aircraft, and Greece, Italy, Poland and the United States will also participate by sending planes and crews.

As part of the exercise, foreign crews will practice handling the threat of advanced surface-to-air antiaircraft missiles, with the Israel Air Force’s so-called Red Squadron playing the role of the enemy. The exercise will include flights in formation with planes from different countries, with no countries opposing each other, said the senior officer.