Pune: Air Officer Commanding Air Force Station Pune, Air Commodore Rahul Bhasin on Thursday said that at present, there is no parallel of the Brahmos missile, which has been jointly developed by India and
“The Brahmos missile underwent an acceptance trial on Wednesday. The Su-30 fighter aircraft which fired the Brahmos belongs to this base, on which the missile was integrated. Brahmos is an Indo-Russian venture but I can proudly say that the only Air Force which had got this missile integrated on its aircraft is the Indian Air Force (IAF). Brahmos has no parallel,” he told media persons, after the concluding of the Air Force component of Exercise Indra 2019.
As part of this exercise, the Indian armed forces and their Russian counterparts under took joint air, land and sea operations. The operations were conducted simultaneously at Pune, Goa and Gwalior for Air Force elements, at Babina (UP) for Indian Army and at Goa for Indian Navy. The Russian Air Force contingent comprising 80 personnel from various branches, interacted with their Indian counterparts and shared their branch specific work experience.
Air Commodore Bhasin explained, “This exercise has provided a unique opportunity and exposure to armed forces of both countries towards undertaking joint planning and operations for peacekeeping and peace-enforcement missions under United Nations (UN) mandate.
Both countries have shared many practices which had improved our inter-operability. Both contingents have learnt from each other and these lesson will be very useful to conduct joint operations if we get a charter under UN mandate. Creating a set up where two countries and their three services conduct joint missions, is a major task. The joint operations centre in Babina is headed by an Army Major General. The tasks that we did do here in Pune, was being controlled from joint operations centre.”
‘More such exercise required’
Colonel Sergei Bergin, Chief of Air Group of Russian contingent, said, “We had a total of 10 sorties of Russian and Indian pilots together. The exercise shows that we have very strong relations. But we need such exercises not just once a year but more and more, so there is more cultural exchange also.”
Group Captain Promeet Bose, Commanding Officer 30 Squadron, added, “Both countries have same fighter aircrafts. During the exercise, flying in the same cockpit helped us assess the flying skills of each other.”
Speaking about his experience, Colonel Kazarinov Dmitry, an ace Russian pilot, said “We use the same aircraft like our counterparts. While there are many common points in the flying programmes but the preparations are not same. The main lessons we learnt were about the preparations and training.”
Importance of joint exercise
Wing Commander T J Singh, who was the exercise coordinator, said, “When we have to intervene as part of the UN mandate, with other defence forces, to restore peace in a country or region, we have to enforce no-fly zones. We have to deploy surface to air missiles, have air dominance over the region to enable Navy and Army progress. Therefore, we need to know how defence forces of other countries operate so that under UN mission, we can easily work with each other.”
Russian pilot wants Tejas-Su-30 dogfight
Air Commodore Bhasin informed that this is the first exercise ever in which a Russian pilot along with an Indian pilot has flown a sortie in the indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas from Pune Air Force Station.
Lt Colonel Nesterov Andrey, the Russian officer who piloted Tejas, said, “I have had experience in flying Mig-29, Sukhoi-30 and Sukhoi-35 but flying Tejas was a great experience. It was very controlled and smooth. All the systems in the cockpit are great, I could very easily understand them and ejection seat is very comfortable. In Russia, we say a beautiful plane cannot fly well. But your jet proves otherwise. It is very beautiful and very manoeuvrable. I had pleasure flying and frankly I would like to fly more, may be a dog fight with Sukhoi-30.”
Army part of exercise concludes
As part of validation exercise, troops of both the countries carried out specialised joint counter terrorist operations which was witnessed by dignitaries of services of both countries.
The validation exercise was reviewed by MoS for Defence Shripad Naik in the presence of Lieutenant General SK Saini, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command based in Pune and other senior officers of both the participating countries.
The Russian side was represented by Lieutenant General Sergie Sevriukov, Deputy Commander Eastern Military District.