On July 17th 2015 Four Sukhoi SU30-MKI “Flanker–H” of the Indian Air Force (IAF) arrived at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire for Exercise Indradhanush IV 2015
The aim of the ten day bi-lateral exercise was to enhance mutual operational understanding between the two Air Forces. The IAF also wanted to demonstrate its ability to project air power in transcontinental deployment using a task force comprising Su-30 MKI fighters based at RAF Coningsby , IL-78 tankers, C-17 strategic and C-130J tactical airlift aircraft in air operations based at RAF Brize Norton.
Whilst at RAF Coningsby the SU30 MKI of 2 Squadron “Winged Arrows” IAF based at Tezpur Air Base on the Tibetan, China border were hosted by 3 Squadron RAF who fly Typhoon FRG4 aircraft.
Over the ten days of the exercise two missions per day were flown and centred on air defence giving the RAF’s Typhoon pilots the chance to conduct Dissimilar Aerial Combat Tactics (DACT) against the Russian designed Sukhoi.
After a series of familiarisation flights to enable the Indian pilots to learn the exercise area within UK Airspace, various combat missions taking on the Typhoons in both beyond visual range (BVR) and within visual range (WVR) engagements of increasingly complexity.
During these “Dog Fights” the SU30 crews were able to use the SU30’s thrust-vectoring control (TVC) “super-maneuverability” capability which enabled them to turn inside the Typhoons radius so maintaining a missile lock.
The final exercise mission saw all four Flankers working with six Typhoons to escort and support two C-130J Hercules on a paradropping mission by UK and Indian Special Forces. They were opposed by 8-10 ”red-air” Typhoons and Hawks.The daily missions also included inflight refuelling with the SU30 using IAF IL78 ”Midas” aircraft.
After the final exercise mission RAF crews had the unique chance to fly in the SU30 MKI prior to their return to India on 31st July.
Both RAF and IAF sources will not give details of the missions outcomes however, both hailed Exercise Indradhanush IV a resounding success.
A full set of photos can be found here: http://www.cliffibell.co.uk/p933839606