JAISALMER: For the first time after its induction into the Indian Air Force, Rafale will land at the Pokhran field firing range in Jaisalmer to take part in a major wargame between India and France. The joint exercise, SKYROS, is aimed at increasing coordination between the air forces of India and France in the strategic sector. The exercise is scheduled between January 19 and 25.
This war exercise, which comes in the backdrop of India-China tensions, will showcase the expertise of both countries. IAF will fly in its Rafale and Sukhoi jet fighters while France will bring in its Rafale fighters too.
SKYROS will be different from Garud, which takes place between the two countries on regular intervals. Indian pilots will demonstrate their capacity in flying Rafale. Sources said France will send four Rafale jets for the exercise. Also, Indian pilots can learn some skills from French pilots who have been flying Rafale for years.
A defense spokesperson said, French Rafales will be accompanied by Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft for aerial refueling support. Notably, it was in the 2014 Garud exercise in Jodhpur that Rafale had participated for the first time and the then Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had flown a sortie. This laid the foundation for the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal.