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We Beat You 12-0, Says IAF To A Miffed RAF

We Beat You 12-0, Says IAF To A Miffed RAF
File - AP Photo/Saurabh Das

The Indian Air Force and its British counterpart, Royal Air Force recently had the fourth edition of Indo-UK Bilateral exercises. The 10-day long Operation Indradhanush saw the Indian Air Force bring four of its fleet of Russian-designed SU-30MKI Flanker fighter aircraft to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to face off against the RAF’s Typhoon FGR4 fighter.

Upon the IAF contingent's return to India, in an exclusive interview to NDTV, Group Captain Ashu Srivastav said: 

The pilots showed "flexibility and adaptability to a new environment and operating conditions and on this benchmark, I would rate them exceptional."

The same NDTV article reports:

IAF pilots flying Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters had a resounding 12-0 scoreline in their favour against Royal Air Force Typhoon jets in Within Visual Range (WVR) dogfighting operations.

Defence News, which calls itself India's first & foremost dedicated Defence News Website, reported in an article titled 'IAF Top Guns emerge victorious in air combat exercises with the UK':

In some of the most intense international air combat exercises ever featuring the Indian Air Force, IAF pilots flying Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters had a resounding 12-0 scoreline in their favour against Royal Air Force Typhoon jets in Within Visual Range (WVR) dogfighting operations.

A military exercise between two countries is usually not about victories and defeats. It's not a battle or a sporting event. It's usually an opportunity for participating sides to learn. India's claims, if true, are therefore not in keeping with the spirit of such exercises.  

In response a certain source in the RAF told the Independent that this score was clearly designed for the 'domestic audience':

There must have been some clouded recollection on the flights back to India, as the headlines of the Indian press bear no relation to the results of the tactical scenarios completed on the exercise in any shape or form

Tony Osborne, the London bureau chief of Aviation Week said:

These cricket-style scores claimed by the IAF look impressive but should be treated with caution and certainly not as a realistic gauge of combat capability.

The Sunday Times also quotes Tony Osborne saying:

We have to view these scores through the haze of pilot bravado, national pride and also some political correctness. Nonetheless, the Su-30MKI is one of the aircraft that the Typhoon was designed to tackle and defeat, and no doubt in the right hands would present a potent challenge. Today [though] the aim would be to engage aircraft like the Su-30MKI from long-range before the two could come together in a dogfight.

A spokesperson for the RAF said: 

Our analysis does not match what has been reported, RAF pilots and the Typhoon performed well throughout the exercise with and against the Indian Air Force. Both [forces] learnt a great deal from the exercise and the RAF look forward to the next opportunity to train alongside the IAF.

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