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India and America today finished a joint Air Force exercise in Gwalior, in which the top pilots from the two countries matched their skills against each other.

While the all-powerful US Air Force had an easy run in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Indian top guns amazingly shot them out of the sky.

"They did very well, it's a very good group of pilots, a very good aircraft and overall I've been very impressed with the Indian Air Force," said Captain Dave Skalicky, US 19 Squadron.

Americans outflown

For the last ten days, five American F-15s have been faced off against Indian Sukhoi-30s, Mirage 2000s and MiG-21s in the skies above Gwalior.

NDTV has learned that the Indian flyers have out flown the Americans, right through the exercise.

On the first day all four American planes were shot down. Never once did the Indians come off second.

Amongst the American flyers, there is clearly respect for the Indians.

"They performed very well. I think in most cases they were equal to us, superior in some aspects. So it was a very good learning experience for both sides. It was a very tough scenario on all days, the pilot skill levels were also equal a lot of times. It felt like we were fighting ourselves, when we were fighting the Indian Air Force guys," said Captain Vogel, US 19 Squadron.

Testing tactics

This is more than just joint training. For both these air forces, it is an opportunity to test their tactics and flying skills against another country and to decide whether any changes need to be made.

The Indians had already made their changes after being beaten by the French Air Force last year.

And when these pilots go to Alaska later this year for another joint exercise, the Americans will have to prepare well for India's special brand of low technology.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:59 PM


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This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
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