September 7, 2005 (by Anonymous) - The United States is deploying its F-16 fighter jets for large scale air exercises with India to be held at the Kalaikunda Air Base outside Kolkata in November this year.
A 13th FS F-16C block 50 #92-3894 taxis past Indian Air Force MiG-27 fighters on the flightline at Kalaijunda AB, India during Exercise 'Cope India 06'. American and Indian Airmen are participating in exercise Cope India 06, which began on November 7th 2005. The exercise will help enhance interoperability between the two air forces. The squadron deployed from Misawa Air Base, Japan. [USAF photo by Capt. John Redfield]
Twelve F-16 CJs from Misawa and Kadena on Okinawa, Japan will be flying down for the ten-day Cope India exercises starting November 7.
It is the first time the US is deploying F-16 fighter jets for exercises in India. Washington held back its F-16s and sent six F-15 Eagles from the Elmendorf Air Base in Alaska during the last exercises in Gwalior in February 2004, partly due to concerns over reactions from Pakistan
, whose air force inventory centers around the F-16s.
In preparation of the 10-day long Cope India exercise, six IAF representatives visited Misawa and Kadena last month for familiarization courses that included flying the F-16s. At the same time, two American airmen went to India with a similar purpose and they flew India's Su-30s.