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SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

IAF has send Five upgraded Mirage 2000 fighters to take part in the multilateral ‘Blue Flag’ exercise that has been held at an airbase in Israel, which the host country calls the largest and most advanced aerial exercise ever conducted in the region. India has been joined by US, Germany, Italy, the UK, France, and UAE that have also sent their 4.5 Gen fighter jets like Eurofighter Typhoon, F-15, F-16, Rafale but the Israeli air force are for the first time is using its F-35 Adir a heavily modified version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jet.

For IAF this is the first instance where it is getting up close in understanding the complex 5th generation fighter jet. Technology leap that comes in the 5th gen platform is what many air force pilots will be keen on studying as India is facing threats of large scale deployment of 5th gen fighter jets coming from the Chinese side.

Back home, IAF is also participating in the Tri-Service exercise ‘Konkan Shakti 2021’ between the Indian Armed Forces and the United Kingdom (UK). F-35B a short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the aircraft of the F-35 stealth fighter jet is flying with the Naval Mig-29K and IAF’s Su-30MKI that also allows pilots of these squadrons to get show their skills against the best jets in the world but also help them understand and create future combat strategies to fight a stealth fighter jets.

Chinese stealth technology might not be a match to the American stealth technology but the Chinese have now two stealth projects and are working on the third program that is getting inducted into service and are often deployed at the airbase closer to India due to ongoing border tensions with China. India’s 5th generation AMCA program is still a decade away from maturing and entering production but regular interactions and exercise with the air force that has inducted 5th gen fighter jets will come as a boom to further expand India’s own AMCA Program but also how to fight them in future.

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