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It's been a while, but as they say, better late than never. We finally made some time to redesign our blog and soon we will have our own independent website. The blog helped us reach a huge audience and generate a lot of interest in this area. As a result, the format and (utility) of the blog seems overwhelmed, hence the transittion to the dedicated site. The URL for the new site and content will be disclosed soon. Till then, enjoy the blog and continue to contribute to our posts.
IAF marathon flyers outpace the best
From AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) assisted 'kills' to confusing US Air Force jargon, from diapers to sleep-inducing pills, from flying with RAF Tornados to chasing Japanese F-15 Eagles in mock combat scenarios; exercise Cooperative Cope Thunder in Alaska allowed young Jaguar pilots to fly into uncharted territory.

The 20,000-km roundtrip mission, which ended in Ambala on Tuesday, was the farthest the IAF had flown, IAF fighters had never exercised outside India and the IL-78 refuellers were exposed to the West for the first time in this unprecedented journey. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy was here to greet the 197 IAF personnel who flew to Alaska on June 21 on six Jaguar fighters, two IL-76 transport planes and two IL-78 tankers.

Cope Thunder, Jaguar pilots said, had helped them sharpen their combat skills, exchange operational tactics and understand the finer points of multi-operability as they exercised with air forces from the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

Jargon used by the American pilots did fox the Indian pilots temporarily. They didn’t understand that when the Americans said “as fragged” they meant “as planned”, the Indian parallel for “hack” was “time-check” or that the US pilots called “fess up” to own up a mistake.

Flt Lt Vikas Tomar, a Jaguar pilot, said the Indian crew overcame this hurdle in the familiarisation phase of the two-week exercise. The pilots also took time to figure out the American twang and the accent of other participants during airborne communications. Diapers proved to be quite handy for them. Sqn Ldr M Sahdev said these gave `psychological comfort’ to the pilots.

The 'Zleep' pill experiment tried out by the IAF during the mission was quite successful. The short acting sleep inducers helped pilots go to sleep in changing time zones so that they could undertake long duration sorties. Sqn Ldr M S Nataraja, aerospace medicine specialist who accompanied the crew, said even foreign air forces were using pills for mock combat assignments at odd hours.

Complimenting the integrated efforts of the team, Air Chief Marshal Krishnaswamy said "each crew member had become a part of history." Asked if the IAF would be a regular feature in Cope Thunder, he said this was an expensive proposition and it was important to ascertain first that the advantages were worth the money spent.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:13 AM


The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.

Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.

Thank you, Nik Khanna & Jango Unwalla

About The Blog
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.
Cooperative Cope Thunder
Nikhil and Jehangir wrote an exhaustive article about the Cooperative Cope Thunder joint event. Their article was publihed in Vayu magazine. Click on the link below to read the in-depth article with amazing pictures courtesy of mark Farmer at
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