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New Delhi: India will need 5-6 squadrons of 4.5 generation fighter jets to fulfil the Indian Air Force’s immediate requirements, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said. He was speaking on the sidelines the Garuda VII joint exercise with the French Air and Space Force in Jodhpur.

Showcasing the defence and bilateral ties between the two countries, Air chief Marshal Chaudhari conducted a sortie in a Rafale jet while his French counterpart General Stéphane Mille flew in a Su-30MKI fighter during the exercise in Jodhpur, a statement by the Indian Air Force said.

IAF, French Air chiefs fly as part of Ex Garuda VIIIAF, French Air chiefs fly as part of Ex Garuda VII

“There’s no doubt that in any future conflict anywhere in the globe, air power will play a very vital and critical role in deciding the outcomes of the conflict. Such exercises (Garuda) give us the opportunity to hone our skills,” he said.

“Both participated in the exercise as part of a combined training mission which was flown from Air Force Station Jodhpur,” the statement further added.

“Leading by example. Chiefs from both the #IAF & @Armee_de_lair (FASF) took to the skies in one of the multi-aircraft missions flown during #ExerciseGaruda,” the IAF said in a tweet.

Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari also said that the drill is aimed at enhancing interoperability between the two sides. He reiterated the needs of the IAF and added that India requires 5-6 squadrons of 4.5 generation aircraft to meet immediate requirements. Each squadron comprises 18-20 fighters.

He also added that the Garuda VII exercise was a unique opportunity for both air forces to learn and imbibe each other’s best practices during any operation.

“Ex Garuda VII is also the first occasion for the TEJAS and the recently inducted LCH Prachand to participate in any international exercise. The exercise, which is due to culminate on 12 November 22, includes four FASF Rafale fighters and one A-330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. Apart from the TEJAS and LCH, the IAF contingent consists of Su-30MKI, Rafale and Jaguar fighter aircraft, as well as Mi-17 helicopters,” the Air Force also said.

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