An Indian Air Force contingent arrived at the Al Dhafra airbase in the United Arab Emirates, for taking part in Exercise Desert Flag VIII. In terms of aircraft, the Indian Air Force is represented by five Tejas fighter jets and two C-17 Globemaster-III strategic heavy-lifters.
The Exercise Desert Flag VIII will provide Air Forces from across the countries to be a part of diverse fighter jet engagements and learn from the best practices of each other.
This is the first-ever time that India’s indigenously designed and developed Tejas fighter jet is taking part in an international exercise.
Exercise Desert Flag is a multilateral Air Exercise that will have the participation of Air Forces from UAE, France, Kuwait, Australia, the UK, Bahrain, Morocco, Spain, the Republic of Korea and the USA. The exercise is to be held between 27th February and March 13.
India’s Tejas fighter jet is indigenously designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a government-run aerospace and defence firm. Tejas is the world’s lightest fighter aircraft and was recently showcased in a big manner at the largest defence-aerospace show in Asia- Aero India. The Indian Air Force has two operational squadrons of Tejas (a little over 30 aircraft), based at Air Force Station Sulur in Tamil Nadu.
According to the Indian Government, a handful of foreign nations had expressed interest in purchasing the Tejas aircraft from India. At the recently-concluded Aero India, a huge emphasis was laid by the Indian Government on showcasing the indigenous Tejas aircraft and the Dhruv-series of Advanced Light Helicopters, for sale to friendly-foreign nations. While the Tejas is of indigenous design, several crucial components such as its radar, engine, ejection seat etc. are of foreign origin.