Warplanes: Su-30s Over America


November 19, 2007: The Indian government has agreed to allow their air force to participate in Red Flag training exercises, with the U.S. Air Force, in the United States. This will cost the Indians about $25 million (fuel and other expenses to get 30 Su-30 fighters, plus Il-76 transports for refueling and maintenance gear, to the United States).

The U.S. Air Force Red Flag operation was founded during the Vietnam war, to provide more realistic training. It has been very succcessful. Originally it was conducted at one air base, which was equipped with special communications and computer gear to monitor the activities of all aircraft (for scoring, and later critique). But now there are two Red Flag equipped bases, one in Nevada, and another in Alaska.

It's generally recognized that Red Flag (and the earlier U.S. Navy "Top Gun" program) provides the best peace-time combat training in the world. The Indian pilots are eager to partake, and to pit their Su-30s against the best the U.S. Air Force has to offer. Details of this particular training exercises have not been released yet, but they may involve F-22s, as well as F-16s and F-15s.


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