French and India Air Forces hold joint exercise in Jodhpur [fr]
For the first time, Indo-French Air Force exercise saw Rafale jets fielded on both sides for highly complex drills aimed at sharing operational experience and enhancing interoperability.
Jodhpur, 20-24 January 2021
A French Air and Space Force deployment touched down at Air Force Station Jodhpur, for the joint Exercise Desert Knight-21 with the Indian Air Force, which took place from 20th to 24th January 2021.
Four Rafale combat jets, two Atlas A400M military transport aircraft and a Phénix A330 multirole tanker transport aircraft manned by 170-odd French aviators took part in joint drills with an Indian Air Force deployment, which included the newly-inducted Indian Rafales, as well as Mirage 2000s, and Su-30 MKI, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft, AWACS and AEW&C aircraft.
The joint exercise took place over four days with increasingly complex drills that enabled the two air forces to share operational experience, particularly regarding Rafale jets, and learn how to operate together more effectively.
France and India have built on their longstanding air force cooperation through the tactical bilateral exercise, Garuda, held alternately in France and India, as well as other joint exercises. The two air forces have thus been mutually enriched through exchanges of best practices and acquired a high level of joint operational capabilities.
India was the first leg of the French force’s broader Skyros Deployment, running from 20th January through 5th February 2021. Its twofold aim is a demonstration of the efficacy of the French Air and Space Force in deploying swiftly to distant theatres of operation as well as enhancing interoperability and strategic ties with the countries it flies to, beginning with India, which is France’s foremost strategic partner in Asia.
After the completion of Exercise Desert Knight-21 in India, the Skyros Deployment will fly successively to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Greece before returning to France.