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Air force team for war and wargame

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  • Published 8.09.04

New Delhi, Sept. 8: The Indian Air Force today announced that it is deploying two contingents to Africa ? one for a war in Congo and another for a wargame in South Africa.

An air force contingent comprising fighter aircraft, a mid-air refueller and a transporter leaves next week for South Africa for a multinational air defence exercise, defence sources said here today.

The IAF also announced that it is deploying an air field services contingent to Congo as part of a UN force. The air field services unit is in addition to an Indian special forces and an IAF contingent that are already in the war-torn nation. The airfield services unit will be accompanied for the first time by the IAF unit called Garud.

The Garud unit was raised as security guards for IAF installations after an attack by militants at an IAF base in Jammu and Kashmir last year. This is the first time that the Garud will be deployed overseas.

About 150 IAF personnel with six Mirage multi-role fighters, an IL-78 refueller and an IL-76 heavy lift transporter will be flagged off from Thiruvananthapuram on September 12 for Exercise Golden Eagle-04 in South Africa.

The IAF contingent will be deployed to Hoed Spruit air base in South Africa from where it would participate in simulated air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. The IAF aircraft will be operating along with Cheetah fighter jets of the South African Air Force.

The Mirage 2000 aircraft will be flying from their home base in Gwalior and will refuel in mid air over the Indian Ocean after taking off from Thiruvananthapuram.

They will touch down in Mauritius before reaching South Africa.

The contingent, led by Air Commodore R. Pratap as overall supervisor and with Group Captain Rajan Bhasin, will also showcase its abilities at the African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition during its stay in South Africa

Exercise Golden Eagle is also a multinational exercise. The South African Air Force is also known to fly a different variant of Mirage fighters. Also participating will be elements from the US, German and British Air Forces.