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On May 24th, a formidable force from the Indian Air Force (IAF) set off for Exercise Red Flag Alaska 24-2. Eight Dassault Rafale fighter jets, known for their advanced capabilities, spearheaded the deployment, arriving at Lajes Field in the Azores for a mid-air stopover.

The IAF contingent wasn’t alone. An Indian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III cargo aircraft, identified as CB-8008, provided crucial logistical support, while an Il-78MK Midair refueling aircraft), designated KJ-3450, ensured the long-range deployment could be achieved.

Their final destination: Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, the heart of Red Flag-Alaska.

Red Flag-Alaska is a premier multi-national combat training exercise designed to hone the skills of participating aircrews in a realistic and challenging environment. Each iteration, designated “Red Flag-Alaska 24-3,” features a unique exercise number reflecting the year and specific event within that year.

The hallmark of Red Flag is its multi-service, multi-platform approach. Units from various branches of the military, each with potentially distinct mission sets, work together in a coordinated fashion. This collaboration allows for a more comprehensive training experience, mimicking the complexities of real-world operations.

Exercise planners meticulously design scenarios that cater to the strengths and limitations of each participating unit. This ensures a fair and valuable training experience for all involved, without placing anyone at an undue disadvantage during simulated combat situations.

The participation of the IAF Rafales, alongside supporting transport and refueling aircraft, signifies India’s commitment to strengthening its air combat capabilities and fostering international military cooperation.