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IAF to carry out air-to-air exercises with UK, France

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Expanding its ties with global air powers, the Indian Air Force will carry out air-to-air exercises with France and United Kingdom this year.

"Firstly, the 'Garud' series exercise with the French would be held in France in June and the 'Indradhanush' series with the British Royal Air Force would be held at the Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal in October," Defence Ministry sources said here.

At the fourth edition of the 'Garud', IAF will be represented by its air superiority Sukhoi-30 fighter jets and the Il-76 heavy-lift transport aircraft in the aerial wargames with France.

"The Il-78 mid-air refuelling aircraft, which have helped in expanding the strategic reach of the IAF, are also likely to join the Indian contingent there," they added.

The French side is expected to field its latest Rafale fighters and various versions of the Mirage-200 fighters, sources said.

The Rafale is being offered by the French to the IAF for its requirements for the USD 11 billion contract for 126 multi-role combat aircraft.

The first Indo-French exercise was held in 2003 at the Gwalior air base and the second one was organised in France in 2005. The third was held at Kalaikunda air base in 2007.

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