October 8, 2004 (by Anonymous) - Indian Air Force pilots will finally get a chance this weekend to cross swords with F-16 Fighting Falcons, the mainstay of its adversary Pakistan, during an exercise codenamed 'Ankush'.
RSAF F-16D block 52 #94-0282, later reserialled to #629, coming in for landing at the Maple Flag exercise in 2000. [Photo by William Gilson
In the exercise IAF fighters like the new Su-30MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, MiG 27 and the upgraded Mig 21 'Bisons' will go head-to-head with six Singapore
Air Force F-16s for over a period of 15 days.
The exercise will take place over the skies of Gwalior, Kalaikunda (West Bengal) and Pokhran (Rajasthan). Gwalior is where last year, the IAF pilots challenged the US Air Forces F-15 fighters with their SU-30's, in the first ever air-to-air exercises held with a foreign air force.
The Indian Air Force was very disappointed last year when the US turned down a request to bring their F-16 fighter jets for 'Cope India-04' a joint Indo-US exercise held in Gwalior in February.
The Singapore air force is also bringing in a C-130 Hercules for the exercise.
India also agreed in principle with Israel
to hold joint air exercises involving thier F-16s. The exercise would be held in 2005 after the IAF Sukhoi-30 MKIs are back from their tour in France.