report by : Thierry LETELLIER
The first Garuda exercise between the French and Indian Air Forces took place in February 2003 at Gwalior, when the Armee de L’Air sent their Dassault Mirage 2000’s to India. Then the Indians came in 2005 already in Istres Air base , for their first time in a foreign country , with their impressive Sukhoi SU-30K’s . 5 of them were reported .Then in 2007 french Air Force returned to India , specificaly at Kalaikunda AB . In mid june , the Indian Air Force delegation returned in Istres AB for the 2010 edition of the now well established exercice Garuda IV.
The involved aircraft were the the powerful SU-30MKI , that came for their first time in Europe for Exercise Indra Dhanush at RAF Waddington. Three IL-78MKI were sent with the task of Air to Air refuelling . Approximately at the same time arrived to Orange AB ; less than an hundred kilometers to the North , a detachment of 6 F-16C/D Block 52 with a single KC-135R all from the Republic of Singapore AIr Force . The F-16 were followed by a RSAF C-130H also to Orange . In the same time the KC-135 landed at Istres . Only 2 stops were requered, the first one in Bangalore India ; and the second one in Doha Quatar .
In Orange the delegation was welcomed by the local M-2000 B/C and a detachment of M-2000-5 from EC-2 at Dijon AB that took part to the exercice . During this edition , six IAF SU-30MKI along with French Mirage 2000-5’s and Rafale’s and theSingapore Air Force F-16C/D Block 52 were engaged in various air defence manoeuvres . All the fighters were refuelled by their own air tankers , the rythme of 2 missions each day was sustained. At the end of the exercice the tankers from all nation involved participated in various missions carrying out cross refuelling (refuelling the fighters of the other air forces).
some special missions like Air Reconnaissance were done by French Air Force and French Navy . The major part of the exercice was made under the survey of the French and Nato Awacs plus the E2 from Lann-Bihoué . Search and Rescue missions were supported by French Army together with French Air Force operating basically the same Cougar version .
All aspect of a modern Air War conflict were studied and executed following the original plans. The transport aircract ; C-130H and IL-76MD along side of the Frenches , also contributed in common missions for exemple for para-dropping for Special Forces . The climat of this summer helpped in a significant way for the good progress of the mission .