Second phase of Indo-Russian air force drills to be held in November

Mil Mi-35 “Hind E” helicopters will be used during drills. Source: RIA Novosti

Mil Mi-35 “Hind E” helicopters will be used during drills. Source: RIA Novosti

India will host the second phase of Avia Indra 2014 once the monsoons are over, according to a senior Russian Air Force official.

The second phase of joint Russian-Indian Air Force exercise Avia Indra-2014 is set to take place in India in November, deputy chief of the Russian Air Force's General Staff, Aleksandr Lyapkin, told reporters Friday.

“The second phase of the exercise will take place in India after the end of monsoon season, on November 10-21. The location isn't known yet, this will become clear in October, when planning is finished,” Lyapkin said.

Russia is currently hosting the first ever Russian-Indian air force drills, which involve joint flights with mixed Russian-Indian crews on Su-30SM Flanker-C aircraft and Mil Mi-35 Hind E helicopters. The Indian troops arrived in Russia on August 25.

The drills are taking place at the Pogonovo and Ashuluk testing ranges in Voronezh and Astrakhan regions. Flanker-C crews are to carry out air refuelling training, while helicopter crews work on extinguishing fires and conducting search and rescue missions.

According to Indian Air Commodore Ajay Rathore, the Indian Air Force uses Su-30MKI, MiG-21, Mi-35 and other types of Russian-produced aircraft at home, with which they are satisfied.

“We have been using Russian military equipment for over 40 years, but this is the first time we conduct joint air drills, though we should have done it a long time ago. We have big hopes for this kind of pilot trainings. We would like to share our experience with our Russian colleagues and learn from their experiences using prospective aircrafts. I hope that Avia Indra will be the first of many joint trainings,” Rathore said.

Russia and India are major partners in the field of military cooperation. Over 70 percent of all military equipment used by the Indian Armed Forces was produced in Russia or the Soviet Union. According to estimates made by the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Russia provided India with $4.78 billion in military technology in 2013. In November 2013, the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier (formerly known as the Admiral Gorshkov) was commissioned to India. The warship was purchased for a record-breaking $2.35 billion.

Russia and India are currently working on contracts to export the newest Sukhoi and Mikoyan fighter aircraft to India. Russia intends to supply India with Beriev A-50 airborne early warning aircraft as well.

The countries are also working together to develop new weapons. The Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture has created the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which has been used by the Indian Armed Forces since 2006. The countries have agreed to jointly develop a fifth-generation fighter jet and military transport aircraft.

First published by RIA Novosti.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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