The ongoing Ex Garuda VII between Indian Air Force (IAF) and French Air and Space Force (FASF) witnessed combined flying by Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of IAF, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, and Chief of the Air Staff of FASF, General Stéphane Mille. While CAS flew a sortie in an IAF Rafale fighter, the FASF Chief flew in an IAF Su-30MKI fighter. Both participated in the exercise as part of a combined training mission which was flown from Air Force Station Jodhpur.
Speaking to the media later, along with the FASF Chief, CAS brought out that Ex Garuda provides the unique opportunity for both Air Forces to learn and imbibe best practices of each other during operations. He also highlighted the growing interoperability between both air forces, which has been developing with each successive edition of the exercise, a regular bilateral exercise since 2003.
Ex Garuda VII is also the first occasion for the LCA Tejas and the recently inducted LCH Prachand to participate in any international exercise. The exercise, which is due to culminate on 12 November 22, includes four FASF Rafale fighters and one A-330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. Apart from the LCA and LCH, the IAF contingent consists of Su-30 MKI, Rafale and Jaguar fighter aircraft, as well as Mi-17 helicopters. The IAF contingent also includes Combat Enabling Assets like Flight Refuelling Aircraft, AWACS, AEW&C and Garud Special Forces.