The important Air Exercise Eastern Bridge-V (Fifth Edition) between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) has reached the culmination stage on Friday with the fighters from both countries making it to the air to exercise joint manoeuvres. Indian Air Chief RKS Bhadauria also visited to see the exercise taking place at RAFO Air Base Masirah, Oman between October 17- 26
The IAF in its communiqué said, “IAF's MiG-29 UPG aircraft exercised along with RAFO's Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 & Hawks.” This was the maiden participation by the IAF's MiG-29 UPG aircraft in an international exercise outside India. The Mig-29 UPG is a modern multi-role fighter jet of IAF, with air-to-air & air-to-ground capability, coupled with Air-to-air Refuelling, added the IAF.
The larger objectives laid down for exercise are to foster closer ties between the forces of both countries and to promote interoperability through exchange of knowledge & experience, along with tactical lessons to be drawn as the exercise progressed, said IAF.
On the “Exercise Eastern Bridge”, the IAF said “It is a biennial exercise between IAF & RAFO. The aim of this exercise is to provide operational exposure to all the participants and undertake mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing the operational capability of both the Air Forces.”
The IAF team is led by Group Captain Brijesh Paul, comprising of Five MiG-29 Upgrade multi-role fighter aircraft.
The first edition of the exercise was conducted at RAFO air base at Thumrait, Oman in 2009. The second edition in 2011 & fourth edition in 2017 were conducted at AFS Base Jamnagar, India. The fourth edition of the exercise saw participation of RAFO's F-16 fighter aircraft outside Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the first time. The third edition in 2013 was conducted at RAFO AFB Masirah, Oman.
The GCC is a political and economic alliance of six countries in the Arabian Peninsula: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
India and Oman conduct regular biennial bilateral exercises between all three services. The 3rd Army exercise ‘Al Nagah’ took place in March 2019 in Jabel Akdhar, Oman. The bilateral naval exercise ‘Naseem al Bahr’ is scheduled in December 2019.
Keeping the significance of the exercise India’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visited the Masirah Base along with Ambassador of India to Oman, Shri Munu Mahawar. where the exercise is going on. was hosted by Air Vice Marshal Matar Bin Ali Al Obaidani, Commander RAFO at RAFO base Masirah on 24 Oct 19. He is on an official visit to Oman.
During the visit, the CAS met IAF & RAFO contingents participating in Ex Eastern Bridge V. He was briefed in detail about various aspects of the exercise & its progress. There are about 8,00,000 Indians in Oman which includes about 6,66,000 are workers and professionals.