French A-400M tactical aircraft arrived at Jodhpur on Tuesday to participate in the Indo-French bilateral exercise Desert Knight 21.
“Today, French A-400M tactical aircraft arrived at Jodhpur. Welcome to India!” tweeted Indian Air Force (IAF).
The bilateral exercise is being held at Air Force Station Jodhpur from January 20 to 24.
“The bilateral Air Exercise, Desert Knight Exercise between Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force will commence from Wednesday. The Exercise marks an important milestone between the two forces,” said the IAF.
IAF’s Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, and IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft are a feature in the exercise.
The French side is participating with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport, and nearly 175 personnel.
Earlier, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had said that the exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces.
“As part of Indo-French defence cooperation, Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force have held six editions of air exercises named Garuda, the latest being in 2019 at Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan, France. As measures to further the existing cooperation, the two forces have been gainfully utilising available opportunities to conduct ‘hop-exercises’,” MoD said.
The French Air and Space Force deployment while ferrying to Australia for Ex Pitchblack in 2018 was hosted by IAF at Air Force Stations Agra and Gwalior for exercise with fighters and MRTT aircraft.
Presently, the French detachment for Ex Desert Knight-21 is deployed in Asia as part of their ‘Skyros Deployment’ and will ferry in forces to Air Force Station Jodhpur.
The exercise is unique as it includes fielding of Rafale aircraft by both sides and is indicative of the growing interaction between the two premiers Air Forces.