Supermaneuverable Su-30s and superiority F-15J fighters in joint exercise
TOKYO, JAPAN — Four supermaneuverable fighters of the Indian Air Force [IAF] Su-30MKI begin a joint exercise with superiority fighters of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force [JASDF] J-15J Eagle. From yesterday, January 12 to January 26, India and Japan began conducting the Veer Guardian joint exercise. This exercise was long postponed due to the covid epidemic in the period 2020-2022.
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On January 10, the Indian battle group landed at the airfield at Japan’s Hyakuri Air Base. For the first time, an Indian air combat group is led by a woman pilot. Two Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster IIIs and one IL-78 tanker escorted the Indian fighters. All personnel and equipment needed by the Indians during the exercise were transported by C-17 aircraft. The Il-78 aerial tanker provided mid-air refueling of the four Su-30MKIs.
The Indian Air Force’s 220 Air Squadron is providing the four fighters and personnel. The squadron is based at Halwara in the northern state of Punjab. En route to Japan, the entire entourage landed in Thailand and the Philippines for layovers.
Japan will participate in the joint exercise with Mitsubishi F-2 fighters from the 7th Air Wing and F-15J Eagle heavy fighters from the Air Tactics Development Wing. The decision to hold the joint exercise was made months ago in joint talks between the two defense ministries. India supports Japan’s ambitions and its opposition to Chinese influence and threat to peace in the region. New Delhi has even supported Tokyo in purchasing anti-ship missiles as part of security and defense cooperation between the countries.
Other joint exercises
So far, India and Japan have participated in joint exercises, but they have mostly been landing and sea. Last year, units of Japan’s ground forces traveled to India. They took part in the Dharma Guardian training. It was held in the key hub of Belgaum, South India. The JIMEX exercise in the Bay of Bengal saw the Japanese and Indian navies in joint deployment. It was held in September 2022.
Japan’s Defense Plans
After the end of the second world war, Japan did not pay so much attention to its defense. However, recent years have changed Tokyo’s policy. Territorial disputes between Japan and China forced large-scale defense plans for Japan.
Toiko is currently investing in expanding its defense capabilities. Japanese engineers and arms companies are engaged in developing new methods of counterattack. Japan will allocate 320 billion USD for these purposes.
Japan and China are locked in a territorial dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which are administered by Japan. These islands are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China. Beijing often sends military aircraft or ships near these islands, an activity that greatly worries Japan.
Tokyo is also concerned that China may decide to intervene in Taiwan, which could draw Japan into the conflict, so Japan will deploy an air defense unit with surface-to-air missiles on Yonaguni Island, the westernmost island near Taiwan.
India and China
India, on the other hand, has been facing more than 30 months of tension with China in eastern Ladakh and unrest along the Line of Actual Control.
In early December, there was another clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Tawang district of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Both sides reported several injuries. For this reason, India organized air exercises on December 15 and 16 near the border with China.
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