Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Garuda IV : the Rafale was there !

Garuda IV took place during 15 days, last july, at the orange and Istres air base in France. 6 Sukhoi SU-30MKI of the Indian Air Force as well as 6 F-16 block52 of the Singaporean Air Force were taking part in the exercice alongside french Mirage 2000C and Mirage 2000-5F.
Altough it was not officially part of the training, it seems that  the Rafale invited itself to the party in order to test the indian and Sigaporean pilots skills !
Not much has leaked on the Rafale participation to Garuda IV but the last issue of  "Armee d'aujourd'hui" an official magazine of the french Armed Forces gives us a few clues :

(p.7) [...]After a few days of casual patrols to know each other, things get serious : Interception, cargo plane escort, air strikes... 3 or 4 missions are conducted each day. "More than 20 fighters can be in flight at the same time on the same scenario" [...] In addition, some fighters from other french air bases can come to complicate things, like the Rafale figthers of the 1/7 "Provence" squadron from the BA113 of St Dizier.[...]
An indian Pilot in a Rafale during Garuda IV

(p.9) [...]"The Indian pilots show a great interest for the french procedures and tactics". says Commander Armit Wij of the 8e indian pursuit squadron.
During Garuda IV, 2 of them had the opportunity to fly the Rafale. Although a lot smaller than the Sukhoi, the french Air Force most advanced fighter "is very impressive" states the indian officer [...]

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