The Sukhoi Su-30MKI, apart from the 36 newly acquired Rafales, is the most important fighter plane the Indian Air Force (IAF) has. In fact, the IAF has over 250 of these Russian-built fighters which have Indian inputs. How will they fare against the F-16, the staple of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)? The best way to find out, apart from actual combat, is have them face to face in an exercise reported MSN.
And that is what an international exercise Iniochos 2023 can help India with. This Greece-led military exercise involves NATO countries. Apart from the hosts, there is the USA, France and Italy and others like Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are bringing their F-15s, but the Jordanian and of course, the Greeks can provide the IAF with the opportunity to test the Sukhoi Su-30MKI against the F-16. The pilots will therefore get an idea of what the F-16 can be in a combat situation.
Iniochos 2023 begins this month in Greece and five Sukhoi-30 fighters are expected to participate. It isn’t often that the Sukhoi has been in exercises against the F-16, though there have been two Red Flag exercises in the United States. So, the exercise in Greece could be a learning experience for the IAF.
It will also be a learning experience for friendly Western countries like France to test their Rafales against the Sukhoi and the Italians to pit their Tornadoes. The Greeks have over a hundred of the F-16Cs, the more improved version than the slightly older versions the PAF mostly has. The PAF has about 18 F-16s of the kind the Greeks have.
Indo-Greek ties have been improving in recent years. The Greeks have not sold Pakistan the batteries it needs for it’s submarines. Greece is also wary of Pakistan as it is close to Turkey, a major rival. And the Turks have given Pakistan Navy submarines a midlife upgrade and are selling corvettes and other weapons.