Desert Eagle II, which was the second in the series of bilateral exercises between Indian Air Force (IAF) and United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAE AF), concluded on 03 Jun 2016. This was a ten-day air combat exercise in which the IAF and the UAE Air Force undertook air exercises from Al-Dhafra Air Base, Abu Dhabi starting from 22 May 2016. The exercise improved interoperability between the two nations.
Both the nations demonstrated keen resolve to engage each other in multiple facets and take the relationship to the next level. Defence Co-operation between the two nations gained momentum after the signing of the ‘Agreement of Defence Co-operation’ during the visit of the Chief of Staff of UAE Armed Forces to India in 2003.The Excercise is a follow up to promise to improve the bilateral military relationship between the two nations. It was also a chance for IAF to test its capability in the hot weather climate.
Exercise Desert Eagle-II saw the IAF Su 30 MKI participating along with Mirage 2000-9 and F-16 block 60 of the UAE Air Force. The Indian Air Force had participated previously in Desert Eagle I in 2008. While referring to the overall exercise, the team Leader Gp Capt H Assudhani said: “This was an excellent opportunity for both the Air Forces to learn from each other and exchange best practices which in turn would be mutually beneficial.”
A wide variety of missions were flown under the beyond Visual Range (BVR) environment with varied levels of complexities. Mission commanders from both sides participated in the Exercise and availed this opportunity to the maximum to draw valuable operational lessons. Despite the predominantly hot and arid conditions with temperatures well beyond 40 deg Celsius, IAF maintenance support staff succeeded in maintaining high serviceability state of aircraft and equipment.
The exercise comes close after defence minister Manohar Parrikar visited Oman and UAE from May 20 to 23 to bolster bilateral defence cooperation. The flotilla of five Indian warships dispatched to the Persian Gulf earlier this month on a goodwill mission is also now on its way back to Mumbai after visiting Dubai (UAE). This military diplomacy is in tune with the political one to bolster economic and security bonds with a region that is a big trading partner and a major source of energy to India,