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Next phase of India-US air exercise begins today


F-15EX fighter aircraft. Photo: Boeing

NEW DELHI (PTI): The next phase of a mega air exercise between India and the US beginning today will feature B1 Bomber jets and F-15 fighter aircraft of the the US besides other assets, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said.

The IAF will deploy a number of frontline platforms including Su-30MKI, Rafale, Tejas and Jaguar fighter aircraft during the exercise at Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal.

The air exercise between the two strategic partners began on Monday.

During the Cope-India exercise at Kalaikunda Air Force Station, Commander of US Pacific Air Forces Gen. Kenneth S Wilsbach flew a training mission in an IAF Su-30MKI jet. The SU-30MKI is a Russian origin platform.

"The next phase of the exercise Cope India will commence at Air Force Station Kalaikunda on April 13. This segment of the exercise will witness participation of B1B bombers of the United States Air Force (USAF)," the IAF said in a statement.

It said F-15 fighter aircraft of the USAF will also join the exercise subsequently.

"The Indian Air Force element will include the Su-30MKI, Rafale, Tejas and Jaguar fighter aircraft," the IAF said.

It said the exercise will be supported by aerial refuellers, Airborne Warning and Control System and Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft of the IAF.

The exercise will conclude on April 24.

"Like the air mobility component of the Ex Cope-India, this phase will also help enhance professional relations between the two air forces, while sharing the best practices between them," the IAF said.

"Personnel from the Japanese Air Self Defence Force will also observe the exercise and interact with the two participating air forces," it said.

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