The Indian and Israeli Air Forces took a significant step forward in their cooperation when the Indian Air Force arrived in Israel for the "Blue-Flag" 2017 training exercise. This is the first time the Indian Air Force participated in an aerial exercise in Israel
2017 marks the first time that the Indian Air Force participated in the "Blue-Flag" training exercise, which began last week in Ovda AFB. The Indian delegation landed a week and a half ago in Nevatim AFB with a C-130J "Super Hercules" tactical transport aircraft carrying 50 "Garud" Commando Force (the Special Forces unit of the Indian Air Force) operators and aircrew members. The cooperation's focal point will be an aerial special forces training exercise held at Tel-Nof, Palmahim and Nevatim AFBs alongside the Israeli 103rd Squadron (“The Elephants”), which operates the "Shimshon" (C-130J) aircraft and SAR Unit 669.
"Flying in the 'Blue-Flag' isn't like a regular training flight. The rules of the game change in an exercise as large as this one and the aerial playground is designed so that the scenarios are as effective for the participants as possible", explained Capt. Itamar, the exercise leader from the "Elephants" squadron.
The air forces' cooperative training exercise will include both ground and aerial missions such as urban warfare, navigation and downed pilot search & rescue. At the end of each week, the commandos will perform a conclusive training session including various scenarios such as raids on tactical facilities, extraction, airborne transportation via “Yanshuf” (Black Hawk) helicopters and mutual formation flight. "This is the first time that the Indian Air Force is participating in the 'Blue-Flag' training exercise, so this cooperative interaction is of major importance", said Capt. Itamar. "This is a very large-scale exercise, larger than we've ever experienced. We are rehearsing scenarios that we don't get to rehearse every day as they are complex and involve aerial threats. An exercise of this scope and quality requires extensive preparation, infrastructure and planning".