A 100-strong Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent left here Monday for South Africa for multi-nation war games that will be witnessed by visiting Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
The air forces of South Africa, Germany, Britain and the US will be represented in Exercise Golden Eagle.
The IAF contingent, led by Group Captain R. Bhasin, comprises six Mirage 2000 fighter-bombers, two IL-78 midair refuellers and two IL-76 transport aircraft.
The IAF vice chief, Air Marshal Michael McMahon, saw off the contingent at the Shangumugham airbase here.
The IAF team will reach South Africa Thursday after stopovers at Male and Mauritius. It will return in the first week of October.
Exercise Golden Eagle comes in the wake of the hugely successful Exercise Cooperative Cope Thunder 04-01 in Alaska in July during which IAF pilots matched their skills with their counterparts from the US and NATO air forces and came out with flying colours.
"Our participation in Exercise Cooperative Cope Thunder 04-01 brought laurels to the country, thanks to the high precision displayed by the fighter pilots in penetrating air defences and scoring direct hits on ground targets in the mountain ranges," the air chief, Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, had said after the contingent returned.
Air forces from the Asia-Pacific and NATO countries such as Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Germany and Britain too participated.
Early this year, a similar exercise was conducted by the IAF at Gwalior, where the US Air Force participated with F-15Cs and the combat skills of Indian pilots drew much appreciation.
A joint exercise has been planned in India with the Singapore Air Force in October, with the visitors flying with six F-16 fighters.
The IAF plans to hold another round of such exercises in France, Britain and the US next year.