Tue, 30 May 2023

By Sahil PandeyLincolnshire [UK], March 22 (ANI): Indian Air Force Balakot operations fame Mirage 2000 took part for the first time in the United Kingdom multi-national exercise Cobra Warrior 2023 at the Waddington air base.

On being asked if the aircraft Mirage-2000 used in 'Cobra Warrior' is the same that was used in Balakot operations, the team leader for the Indian contingent in exercise cobra warrior, Group Captain M Gangola told ANI: "These are the same machines. They remain very capable aircraft for modern warfare."IAF is participating with Five Mirage-2000 jets, two C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift planes and one IL-78 mid-air refuelling aircraft, along with around 100 IAF personnel, flew from the Jamnagar air-base for the exercise at Waddington in the UK.

Sharing his experience of the multinational participation, Gangola added: "The experience has been very enriching. We've been able to travel 4,500 miles from India, deploy here and operate in fairly harsh weather conditions with different air forces across the globe. And we've been able to execute fairly complex missions in a very short timeframe."Echoing similar sentiments, Group Captain Pranav Raj, Commanding officer of squadron 7, Indian Air Force Battle axes said: "It has been a great experience. We've learnt quite a bit when flying with participating nations. We've flown with F-18s, F-16s and carrying out the entire spectrum of air operations which are involved in terms of offensive and defensive counter-air missions and others. It's an exercise giving good exposure to the air and maintenance crew."Expressing about the route taken from India to the UK, Raj mentioned that the journey was very interesting and they have flown over the entire Arabian Sea, thereafter over the Saudi desert, and over the French mountains. "So I would say it was a remarkable journey. It was very beautiful and challenging for the crew," he said.

Asserting that IAF has been participating in international exercises across the globe, Group Captain Raj said the cobra warrior's aim is to fly together.

The commanding officer of squadron 7, Indian Air Force Battle axes also revealed the strength of participants coming for Exercise cobra warrior and said: "We are a total of about 100 people. This includes technicians as well as aircrew. I'm here with 17 of my pilots and about 54 of my technicians and the balance of the contingent for various other duties in terms of administration logistics and so on. So the total contingent of the Indian Air Force is about 100 personnel and we are here with five Mirage 2000 aircraft."Group captain Gangola also lauded the UK's Royal Air Force for being a wonderful host, and providing the environment in which the entire exercise was set up whether on the ground or in the air. "It has been a great environment for us to come and operate on such short notice," he mentioned.

The exercise is scheduled from March 6 to 24.

The Exercise Cobra Warrior is a multilateral Air exercise in which Air Forces from Finland, Sweden, South Africa, the United States of America and Singapore are participating alongside the Royal Air Force and IAF. (ANI)

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