Konkan Shakti: UK brings F-35 fighters to India for war games


India-UK Konkan Shakti military exercise: India and UK started their first ever tri-service military exercise Konkan Shakti off the Mumbai coast in western state of Maharashtra on Thursday. The maritime component of the seven-day Konkan Shakti exercise will be conducted in two phases – harbour phase and at sea phase in Arabian Sea.

While the harbor phase will be conducted at Mumbai from Thursday Saturday (October 21-23), the sea phase will be conducted from Sunday Wednesday (October 24-27).

Indian Navy, UK navy engage in war games

UK Royal Navy (RN) will be represented by its aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, with her integral F35 fighter aircraft and helicopters, the Type 45 Daring Class air-defence destroyer HMS Defender, the Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Victoria, and a Royal Netherland Navy Frigate HNLMS Evertsen.

The Indian Navy (IN) would be represented by three of its indigenously built stealth guided missile destroyers INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Chennai, two stealth frigates, INS Talwar and INS Teg, and the tanker INS Aditya.

Indian Navy will also field integral Sea King 42B, Kamov-31 and Chetak helicopters, MIG 29K fighter aircraft, Dornier and P8i (maritime patrol aircraft) and a submarine.

F-15 and F-35 Aircrafts.

F-15 and F-35 Aircrafts (File Photo)

Indian Air Force participates in Konkan Shakti 21

Moreover, the exercise will also see participation by Indian Air Force also fielding its fighters and early warning systems such as Jaguars, Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters, AWACS, AEW&C and flight refueling aircraft.

The sea phase of Konkan Shakti 2021 will feature advanced warfare tactics, Anti-Submarine Warfare exercises, over-the-horizon targeting drills, Air Defence Exercise, Cross Deck landings and other complex manoeuvers at sea.

The joint phase of the exercise would also include air-tactical operations involving F35Bs, MiG 29Ks and Indian Air Force elements.

“To facilitate smooth execution of the exercise, the harbour phase will see active interaction between planners of both navies, exchange of information by respective subject matter experts, and interaction of personnel participating in the exercise,” said the ministry of defence.

The Indian Air Force has already participated in an operational engagement with the UK Carrier Strike Group on Tuesday and Wednesday (October 18-19).

The operational engagement before the Konkan Shakti tri-service exercise focused on multiple areas including enhancing aspects of interoperability and exchange of best practices.

Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier Strike Group CSG.

A sailor at HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Officials said the naval linkages between India and the United Kingdom were very old and over a period they have grown substantially in terms of interoperability and synergy.

“Over decades now, both navies have undertaken bilateral exercises, exchanges and enhanced their technical cooperation. Rightly so, this has formed the basis for the maiden tri-service bilateral exercise Konkan Shakti -21,” said an official.

Land Phase of Konkan Shakti Military Exercise

The land phase of the Konkan Shakti military exercise is being conducted between Indian Army and UK Army at Chaubatia from October 21 to 27under the aegis of Golden Key Division of Surya Command.

UK Army is being represented by officers and troops of the 1st Battalion of the Fusilier Regiment and the Indian Army is represented by the troops of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles.

The joint company level exercise between the two nations is aimed at training troops in conduct of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Operations by coalition forces in an opposed environment.

Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth Rolls Royce MT30 Engine

Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth.

India said the tri-service military exercise Konkan Shakti aims to derive mutual benefits from each other’s experiences and also showcase the continuing cooperation between the two countries.

“Maritime cooperation is a distinguishable symbol of the commitment of both nations in ensuring a positive climate at sea for enhancing strategic stability and promoting global economic prosperity. The interoperability achieved over the years, as a result of such exercises, has proved to be operationally beneficial to armed forces of both countries,” said the MoD.

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