Military Review

Garuda IV: Su-30MKI and F-16D + in the French sky ("Air & Cosmos", France)

Garuda IV: Su-30MKI and F-16D + in the French sky ("Air & Cosmos", France)For the first time, Indian Su-30MKI and Singaporean F-16D Block 52 "Plus" are training in the French sky on a par with Mirage 2000 and Rafale F3 national Air Force

A rare and impressive sight. The fourth French-Indian exercises Garuda (held for the second time in France) gave the Indian Air Force one more chance to demonstrate its capabilities to everyone. Six Su-30MKI 8 squadron fighters, accompanied by two tankers IL-78MKI and IL-76MD, flew from their base in Bareilly to the French air base (WB) 125 (Istr) to take part in XNX flights from the XNX. training operations that take place every two or three years alternately in India and France.

This year, the composition of the exercise was expanded: they were joined for the first time by the six double F-115D "Plus" (Block 16) 52 squadrons of the Singapore Air Force, accompanied by the KC-145R 135 squadron, stationed on the 112 (Orange) squadron. In total, 180 pilots from India and 120 from Singapore arrived in France. The French Air Force was represented by five Mirage 2000-5F 1 / 2 Stork squadrons and four Mirage 2000C / RDI 2 / 5 Mi-135 squadrons, supported by the XNHXX C-2FR team of XNXXR units of the XNXXR unit of the XNHXXXXXXXXXXXXXX unit.


General Bruno Clermont of the French Air Force’s External Relations Department explains this list of participants as follows: "The combination of three modern air forces that have high-tech combat aircraft makes these exercises one of the most important events for the French Air Force." In addition, neither India nor Singapore are members of NATO, which allows French pilots to practice various elements of combat beyond traditional patterns.

"In this regard, no NATO strategies are used in the exercises, which gives participants some freedom in preparing and conducting operations." Such an opportunity to go beyond the standard training of the alliance falls pilots rarely. “For us, it’s also a way to make the most of the precious flight hours,” adds General Clermont. According to his Indian colleague Marshall K. Nohvara, participation in training operations on another continent represents for the Indian Air Force "a real challenge and the opportunity to practice with experienced pilots in a different philosophical and ideological environment and in a more limited airspace." A similar view is shared by Singaporeans who have been trained by American standards, which by some parameters differ significantly from NATO. The task of these "long-term strategic partners" is to familiarize themselves with various combat tactics, which is especially important in view of the planned participation of Singapore in operations in Afghanistan.


The leadership of the exercises was entrusted to Jean-Paul Clapier, deputy commander of the Fighter Air Brigade aviation Metz. Significant aviation forces of the French Air Force and Navy were involved in Garuda IV, and a video communication system of the Istres and Orange bases was created. The development of training plans was carried out by representatives of three countries for two weeks. As a result, scenarios of varying complexity were created, designed not only for the most experienced pilots.

The parties agreed for the first time that "all participants will use only those weapons systems that they actually have". In other words, they must "honestly" use means of detecting and tracking targets, and fight in accordance with their real capabilities. The idea was to get as close as possible to the present conditions of the missions to intercept, fire support and escort using the latest generation fighter jets. At the same time, in the most difficult scenarios in each camp it was planned to mix aircraft of all three sides.

The first week of the exercise (weather conditions were frankly unfavorable) was devoted to the study of the terrain and the training of air combat one on one, two on two, and four on four. Pilots of the 2 / 5 squadron accompanied the Su-30 MKI, and the 1 / 2 squadron - the F-16D at an altitude of more than 3000 meters. Improving the weather in the second week made it possible to start carrying out longer and more complex missions developed by the National Center for air operations (90 minutes average, at a frequency of departures per day at 8), in which fighters took part before 20 with the support of E-tankers and radar aircraft 3F and E-2C. The assigned tasks included air combat, interception, escort of transport workers (C-130 and C-160) and destruction of ground targets for F-16D and "Dry" with the participation of Mirage 2000N and Rafale, which were often assigned the role of enemy units. The area of ​​these complex operations was the center of France (TSA.43), west of Perpignan, south of Montpellier (TSA.41 and 46) and the delta 54, which allowed (in the west of Corsica) to fly at low altitudes under clearly established conditions of compliance security.

The clash between the operating standards of the participating countries has improved mutual understanding and foster interaction between French and foreign crews.

As Colonel Clapier points out, "this cooperation is best reflected in the operational capabilities of the participating armies." The interaction of the parties can be divided into three components: "Good preparation, active conduct of operations by the leadership of the exercise, as well as accurate planning of meetings and briefings." However, it remained to solve another problem. How to restore the progress of assignments of mixed troops? On the French side, the answer is, of course, the Local System for Preparing and Reconstructing SLPRM Missions. It is used for planning operations, coordinating pilots' actions during their execution and subsequent debriefing. The Indian and Singaporean parties had to improvise in view of the presence (F-16D) or the absence (Su-30MKI) of similar equipment. As in the 2005 year, the problem was solved with the help of GPS and the Otaris program installed on the E-3F, which remembers the paths following the radar readings. Together, these two methods allow for a detailed analysis of the missions, as well as using extrapolation to determine the location of the hit of most missiles.

Despite the vagaries of the weather, ten days of the exercise were conducted around 430 scheduled flights, which, according to General Klermont, is "a very serious figure, and about a hundred flights under the additional program should be included here." In addition, two French squadrons involved in the exercises conducted in parallel with them and their own training. The French pilots had previously dealt only with the Su-30K, and now they were able to get much closer acquainted with one of the best planes of their generation, the Su-30KI.


All participants were impressed with the skill of the Indian pilots, the work of the powerful H011 Bars radar with a range of 100 nautical miles and AL-31FP (13 tons) engines with thrust vector control (13 tons). The wide range of anti-aircraft armaments of these aircraft did not go unnoticed: Russian P-77, similar in class to American medium-range guided missiles AIM-120 Amraam; Infrared-guided P-27; The P-73 is the most advanced Russian short-range development for close combat. Each Su-30 MKI can carry up to fourteen missiles!

It is with this (of course, simulated) weapons had to deal with the French pilots who opposed him to Mica EM / IR (Mirage 2000-5F and Rafale F3), Super 530D and Magic 2 (Mirage 2000RDI). And in general, they believe that everything went very well. Of course, the Mirage 2000-5F pilot acknowledges that their powerful radar allowed them to find out about the situation in the sky before us, but the radar is not all.

Moreover, the Su-30 can not be called a "secretive" aircraft, in contrast to the much more inconspicuous Rafale. Here we are talking about a complex system, the main elements of which are detection and secrecy. From this point of view, even the Mirage 2000C and its RDI radar with the NCTR target definition function do not hit the face. It is impossible not to say about the Spectra system installed on Rafale, the purpose of which is to detect threats to 360 ° from an airplane in active or passive mode. It also suppresses the waves around the aircraft, which makes it difficult to locate it even with the most powerful radar.

In addition, Spectra is an excellent data collection system with the ability to transmit them on a tactical line L16. The Indian and Singaporean crews took into account this system for calculating the "fair use" of weapons, without using interference jammers on the Su-30 and F-16C.


Although the primary task of the exercise was to work out team actions, they also conducted air combat training. As expected, the advantage of the “Dry” was their power and maneuverability, although the Indian pilots did not resort to the use of vector thrust. Despite its overwhelming superiority in climb (300 meters per second) and airspeed (2,3 Mach on 11 000 meters), Su-30MKI is seriously affected by its large mass (39 tons), which is 1,5 tons more than Rafale and 2,2 tons exceeds the weight of the Mirage 2000C. In fact, in the melee, Mirage looks a bit more "twitched," but in any case, as French pilots say, "the advantage must be captured in the first minute."

Due to the changing nature of potential threats in their zones of influence, Indians and Singaporeans do not put the purchase of new tankers among their priorities. The fact is that both the F-16D and the Su-30MKI have a significant range without refueling. In the first case, this is explained by the presence of fuel tanks running along the fuselage, which give this modification to the American fighter such opportunities. However, despite the resemblance, the F-16 Block 52 + should not be confused with the F-16 Block 60, which has more power and less fuel consumption. F-16 Block 52 + is often called the “intermediate” link in the development of Fighting Falcon. This aircraft has a significant disadvantage in the weight / power ratio, which imposes serious restrictions on it at altitudes of more than 6 000 meters. Nevertheless, this machine is an excellent multipurpose weapon platform (air-to-ground, air-to-air) thanks to external hangers of the Litening and Lantirn.


In fact, the Singapore 145 Squadron is primarily a unit of air fire support. However, her pilots trained in all forms of combat, in the opinion of French pilots, "demonstrate an amazing ability to adapt." This quality is also found in Indian pilots, "who are increasingly mastering NATO standards (...) and are distinguished by seriousness and concentration in battle, as well as friendliness and friendliness in communication." Overall, Garuda IV has become an exceptional event in terms of the diversity of weapons systems and national standards. It is worth noting the expansion of "bilateral" exercises for new partners and allies, as well as commercial issues that are an integral part of the exercises. As General Clermont says, the French Air Force does not hide the desire to fully incorporate their Rafale in the future Garuda, which should take place in India in two or three years. Germany, for its part, also expressed a desire to take part in the following exercises with her Typhoon. One of the "essential elements" of the French-Indian cooperation can thus become a kind of Pandora’s box.

The commercial side of the issue

During the Garuda IV, some Indian military had the opportunity to visit the co-pilot during the Rafale flights. In the face of growing competition from the US, the new French fighter is becoming one of the claimants to participate in the Indian program of multi-purpose combat aircraft. In addition, the primary task of Dassault and other French suppliers is to sign a contract for the modernization of fifty Mirage 2000H Indian Air Forces. There are other prospects for the French aircraft industry. First of all, we are talking about the organization of trainings and the supply of equipment in connection with the arrival in India of new radar planes (IL-76 / Phalcon) and interest in the French experience in the preparation and analysis of operations.

The French and Singapore Air Forces are now nearing the signing of an agreement on the extension of the flight school at Cazo to 20 (WB 120). This summer, Singapore should also decide to replace its TA-4SU Skyhawk with a new two-seater training aircraft. Among the applicants should be noted the promising Korean T-50 Golden Eagle and the Italian M. 346 Master, which in many European countries replaces the existing generations of aircraft to learn advanced methods of air combat. The importance of choosing the Singaporean side for France and its partners is explained by the possible prospects of creating large-scale preparatory programs.
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  1. dred
    dred 29 November 2011 14: 35
    The French have long been interested in our aircraft.