Gunfighters and Indians – Workups for Red Flag

Hello everyone for another exciting adventure. This week I’m out here at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho covering the Indian Air Force’s workups for the Red Flag Exercise. For the first time every, the Indian Air Force is participating in the worlds elite aerial combat training exercise held annually at Nellis AFB, Nevada.  247 Indian men and women arrived at Mountain Home AFB with eight SU-30 MK-I aircraft, two IL-78 air refuellers and one IL-76 transport aircraft.  By working closely with the 366th Fighter Wing, the “Gunfighters,” the IAF will help streamline the procedures and understand the new flying environment. They will also be taking advantage of Mountain Home’s vast air space and multiple ranges to better prepare their aircrews for future flying missions.


Today was my first day here on base, and as will any project, it involved a lot of visits to a lot of people to square away a lot of things. 🙂  I wont bore you with all of the details, but all I can say is that this will be a heck of a week!

So for today, I’ll just share with you a summary of my day through images.

I got a chance to go to the Indian Air Force’s base of Operations and observe how closely the USAF and IAF work together.


One of the best ways for the two forces to get to know each others procedures is to do a pilot exchange program. This lucky IAF SU-30 pilot is being suited up to go ride in an F-15 during the afternoon mission.


Capturing the professional in action. 🙂


And then it was off to Harness Training.




PLF! – Knees together, grab the releases, elbows in, chin against your chest….SLAM!  A parachute landing is just like jumping off a 2 story building. Not too fun.  And then for the actual landing….five points of contact; 1) the balls of your feet, 2) the calf muscle, 3) the thigh muscle, 4) the buttocks, and 5) side of back.


Then I went off base to take some pics of the planes returning from the Day Exercise.





I even saw my favorite jet; The 391st FS’s F-15E belonging to Lt. Gen. Norman R. Seip, Commander of the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern). I took a lot of amazing images of this very plane when I went to Chile. 


And then it was the last landing of the evening, and time to go back to the hotel.


8 Replies to “Gunfighters and Indians – Workups for Red Flag”

  1. Great going..please continue the good some pics of SU-30 of IAF practicing also, plz..
    Thx in advance..

  2. Great write up and pics, but to echo Rai’s comments. There is no such thing as an MK-I, its MKI, MKK, MKM and MKA. So the Su-30MKI is Su-30 Modernizirovannyi Kommercheskiy Indiski (Modernized (k)commercial for India) and the last letter denotes the country for which the aircraft is modernized for, so I is India, K is Kitai or China, M is Malaysia and A is Algeria. Also they are NOT made by the same factory. The MKM and MKA are very closely related/spec to the MKI and they are made by IAPO or Irkuts while the MKK is made by KNAAPO or Komsomolsk. The jury is still out on whether you can even compare the MKK to the MKI/M/A in terms of technologies and capabilities.

    The MKI’s themselves evolved over time from MKI Mk.I (limited A2G) to the current MKI Mk.III-comprehensive A2G (all the triple digit a/c are actually made in India by HAL e.g: SB115 and the higher double digits, which were the last contracted batch from Irkuts e.g SB042 are Mk. III), hence all the a/c participating at Red Flag are Mk.III. Mk. III are the true multi role fighters and you can see that they carry the Litening LDP and are equipped for A2G roles along with the usual A2A tasks.

  3. Hi,
    Brilliant Stuff.

    It’s good to see familiar faces!
    And I also see that gjman has already been here and done his bit for the Russki language.

    Thanks a lot once more

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