India is set to make a significant foray into the international military arena as it prepares to deploy its state-of-the-art Rafale jets for the first time in an overseas exercise. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has confirmed that it will send four Rafale jets, two C-17 aircraft, and two IL-78 mid-air refuellers to participate in a multinational air exercise at France’s Mont-de-Marsan military base. The exercise, named Exercise Orion, will run for almost three weeks from April 17 to May 5.
In addition to the IAF, air forces from Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, France’s Air and Space Force (FASF), and the United States will participate in the exercise. A total of 165 air warriors from the Indian Air Force will take part in the event, alongside their counterparts from other countries.
This exercise provides a unique opportunity for the IAF to learn from and share its experiences with other air forces from around the world. In its statement, the IAF expressed its excitement about participating in the event, saying that it would “further enrich the employment philosophy of the India Air Force, by imbibing the best practices from other Air Forces.”
The deployment of the Rafale jets and other aircraft to France for Exercise Orion marks an important milestone for India, demonstrating the capabilities of its latest military technology on the world stage. The IAF has been gradually modernizing its fleet in recent years, with the acquisition of the Rafale jets from France being a key part of this process. The exercise is an opportunity for the IAF to showcase the capabilities of its new aircraft and to build closer ties with other air forces from around the world.