The exercise will provide operational exposure to the participating forces and train them in simulated air combat operations

The Indian Air Force will participate in
Exercise Desert Flag, an annual multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the United Arab Emirates Air Force, for the first time.

The Indian Air Force is participating in Exercise Desert Flag-VI along with the air forces of the UAE, United States of America, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain.

The exercise is scheduled from 03 Mar 21 to 27 Mar 21 at Al-Dhafra airbase, UAE, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The IAF contingent will include six Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircraft.

Providing details of the role to be performed by these aircraft, the ministry said the C-17 Globemaster will provide support for induction/de-induction of the IAF contingent.

The Su-30 MKI aircraft will undertake long range ferry directly from India to the exercise area with aerial refueling support from the IL-78 tanker aircraft.

The aim of the exercise is to provide operational exposure to the participating forces while training them to undertake simulated air combat operations in a controlled environment.

According to the ministry, the large-scale exercise involving diverse fighter aircraft from across the globe will provide the participating forces, including IAF, a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience, enhance operational capabilities and interoperability.

"Exercising and interaction with the participating nations in a dynamic and realstic warfare environment will also contribute to strengthen international relations," the defence ministry said.

The defence ministry noted that over the last decade, the IAF has regularly hosted and participated in multi-national operational exercises, wherin collaborative engagements are undertaken amongst the best air forces of the world.