Exercise Orion: Indian Air Force to field Rafale fighter jets in drill with several Nato countries in France’s Mont-de-Marsan

Team India Sentinels Thursday 13th of April 2023 10:32 PM

An Indian Air Force Rafale. (Photo: IAF)

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force is going to take part in one of France’s largest air-combat exercises in Mont-de-Marsan, where several Nato countries will also participate. The IAF contingent will depart for France for the drill on Friday, the Air Force said.

The drill, which is named, Exercise Orion, will start from April 17 and end on May 5.

Apart from the French and Indian air forces, the multilateral exercise will also see the air forces of Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States ­– all North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies – in action. The IAF will participate in the exercise with four Rafale fighters, two C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft, two ll-78 midair refuellers, and 165 airmen.

This would be the first overseas exercise for the IAF’s newly acquired Rafale warplane.

In a media release, the IAF said: “Participation in this exercise would further enrich the employment philosophy of the India Air Force, by imbibing the best practices from other air forces.”

It may be noted that already, the IAF has taken part in five air exercises, four of them overseas, with friendly foreign countries this year. They were Exercise Desert Flag in the United Arab Emirates, Exercise Cobra Warrior in the United Kingdom, Exercise Veer Guardian in Japan, Exercise Shinyuu Maitri again in Japan, and Exercise Cope India with the United States in Kalaikunda, India.

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