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Indo-Oman joint air exercise to foster defence cooperation.

Byline: Times News Service

NEW DELHI Eoe1/4" The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) will conduct a week-long bilateral air force exercise Eoe1/4" Eoe1/4Y[pounds sterling]Eastern BridgeEoe1/4ao Eoe1/4" at the RAFO Base in Thumrait, Oman, from October 22 to 29. This will be the first-ever joint air exercise undertaken by the two countries, IndiaEoe1/4aos Press Information Bureau said on its website yesterday.

Eoe1/4EoSix, single-seat, Darin-I Jaguars from the Indian side will participate alongside RAFO Jaguars and F-16s.

Eoe1/4EoIncidentally, the two air forces are among the only ones that continue to operate the twin-engine Jaguar aircraft to date,Eoe1/4A[yen] the report said.

The report further said the IAF would also involve two IL-78 MKI air-to-air refueller aircraft for tanking the Jaguars enroute to Oman. Meanwhile, an IL-76 will airlift the IAF air warriors to Oman.

The main IAF contingent will comprise 33 officers and 65 personnel below the officer rank (PBOR). The support team of IL-76 and IL-78 MKI additionally comprises 12 officers and 26 PBOR. Group Captain V. Dedgaonkar is team leader, while Group Captain K. Kale is the Exercise Director for the IAF. The Jaguar Detachment will be led by Wing Commander A. Mathur.


The pilots belong to the two Jaguar squadrons Eoe1/4"16 (Cobras) and 27 (Flaming Arrows) that are based at IAFEoe1/4aos Gorakhpur airbase under the Central Air Command.

A senior Air HQ observer along with one staff officer will also visit the IAF contingent during the period of the exercise.

The exercise region will enhance understanding of operational, maintenance and administrative procedures between RAFO and the IAF.

The bilateral exercise would also be cost-effective in terms of benefit realisation of operational and tactical preparedness over an unknown mixed terrain of land and desert.

Oman features among IAFEoe1/4aos priority-one country listed for defence cooperation.

The IAF-RAFO defence cooperation was initiated in 2006, and has increased substantially in the current year. The defence cooperation is characterised by high-level visit exchanges, training and bilateral exercises by the two air forces.

Oman has also been availing courses in India on a self-financing basis. Oman has been providing turn-around facilities to Indian transiting military aircraft. Several rounds of Air Force staff talks with RAFO have now provided the necessary framework to expand defence cooperation with RAFO and rest of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. Oman is geographically IndiaEoe1/4aos closest neighbour among the Arab countries in the strategically vital Arabian Gulf region. The presence of over 350,000 expatriate Indians and centuries of people-to-people contact further enhance its importance in IndiaEoe1/4aos security mosaic.


Meanwhile, the Indian newspaper Indian Express reported that the Indian Air Force is gearing up to join future anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden and is holding the first-ever exercise with Royal Air Force of Oman this month to get experience in operating fighter aircraft there.

Eoe1/4EoThe IAF may be called upon to conduct aerial surveillance of the swathe of the Gulf of Aden region, where pirates are widening their area of operations fast,Eoe1/4A[yen] IAF vice-chief, Air Marshal P.K. Barbora, told reporters in New Delhi, the Express report said.

The Eoe1/4Y[pounds sterling]Eastern BridgeEoe1/4ao air exercise with Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) from October 22 to 29 would focus on achieving cooperation and enhancing understanding of operational, maintenance and administrative procedures between the two air forces, he said.

Joining the anti-piracy operations would not mean the IAF would unleash an offensive against the sea brigands, but would carry out surveillance of the vast area that the navy would be unable to cover due to Eoe1/4Eospeed and manpowerEoe1/4A[yen] constraints, Barbora said.

Eoe1/4EoWith our (IAF) surveillance capability, we can help the comity of nations fighting the piracy menace there. Navy may not be able to cover the area in terms of speed and number of men. It is not necessary that we use our fire power,Eoe1/4A[yen] he said.

Assuring that the fighter aircraft could perform surveillance role too, the IAF vice- chief said with the mid-air refuelling capability, the fightersEoe1/4ao endurance levels to fly for longer hours and patrolling the area would increase substantially.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2009

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Oct 14, 2009
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