|Indian Air Force pilots with their Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters continues to grow their reputation on international exercises. They have beaten the US F-15 and F-16 pilots many times in recent years Cope India exercises. Now Indian pilots beat RAF Tornado pilots.
Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force had their first air combat exercise since 1959 after 48 years. One main goal on the exercise was the preparing to get three E-3D AWACS planes into service with the Indian Air Force during the next year.
The exercise Indra-Dhanush held by Britons and Indians included BVR and WVR engagements. The RAF brought Tornado F.3s and India Su-30MKI, MiG-21, MiG-27 and Mirage 2000 aircraft into the exercise. Indian Air force officials said that the Tornado F.3 was no match for the Su-30MKI. The Sukhoi was unbeatable even in the BVR tests. In the close-in fights and dogfights the Tornado had no change to do anything.
After the Indra-Dhanush Indian pilots felt a great confidence for their Su-30MKI and for their own skills. They even announced that they even didn’t need to use all the Air-to-Air modes available for the radar. RAF Air Marshall Cristopher N. Harper commented that the Eurofighter Typhoon at the time entering service is trhoughoutly a different case. He said that the Su-30MKI has little change to survive in the hands of the Typhoon. Mr. Harper still had to admit that the RAF needs to enhance its cooperation with AWACS systems used in the exercise.
The benefits enjoyed by the Indians was the ability to use their Ground Controlled Interception radars or GCIs to lead the Indian fighters well and correctly. The best aircraft India has is the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. India also flew onto exercise the venerable MiG-21, MiG-27 and newer and more potent Mirage 2000 fighters. The well handled joint operation between the radars and the older jets made it possible for the oldies to find their targets in almost realtime accuracy.