F-22 pilot boarded two-seat Russian-origin Su-30, flew a mission

NEW DELHI, INDIA — It could be said that an American pilot got up close and personal with the flight capabilities and avionics of a Russian modern fighter only days ago. An American pilot, a top officer of the US Air Force boarded a two-seater Russian-original Su-30MKI. He participated in the execution of a training mission.

F-22 pilot boarded two-seat Russian-origin Su-30, flew a mission
Photo credit: Twitter

It is about General Ken Wilsbach, who is currently the US Pacific Air Force Commander. General Wilsbach flew and still flies one of America’s legends in combat aviation, the F-22 Raptor. A photo of how the general sat in the navigator’s seat in the two-seater Su-30MKI appeared on the network. The involvement of the American pilot was officially confirmed by the Indian Air Force spokesperson.

The training mission with the American general took place these days during the conduct of the Indo-US joint exercise ‘Cope India’. The exercise is being held from April 10 to 24 at the Kalaikunda base. The base is home to a squadron of the Indian Air Force.

The presence of General Ken Wilsbach on board the Su-30MKI can be defined as an event. It’s not every day that a US Air Force pilot gets the chance to fly a fighter jet that is part of the backbone of Russian aviation right now. The photo with the serious look on the general’s face can also be described as rare.

Official meetings

India and Russia Discuss the Modernization of Indian Su-30MKI Fighters
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Wilsbach’s presence at the teaching is not accidental. With the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, any opportunity to get a closer look at Russian warplanes would benefit both American air aces and Ukrainian pilots. There is no doubt that the impressions of the American general will be shared with the Pentagon and will reach Kyiv along the chain.

General Ken Wilsbach has spoken to the Chief of the Indian Air Force. He has given additional information about the Chinese balloon that was shot down over the USA. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that the balloon was shot down by an air-to-air missile precisely from an F-22 Raptor fighter.

Immediately after the Chinese balloon was shot down, American Raptors received a fuselage badge representing the targets the aircraft had shot down in its history. Ironically or not, this is the first badge on the fuselage of the F-22 Raptor.

Cope India 2023

Neither the Indian Air Force nor the US Air Force has released details about Wilsbach’s training mission. However, the training is conducted in two stages. The first, which began on April 10, aims to operate standard flights with transport planes or refueling planes. The first stage also trains a joint [US Air Force and Indian Air Force] transport aircraft escort.

Indian Su-30MKI successfully launched stealthy BrahMos ramjet ALCM
Photo credit: Twitter

Other missions, such as joint engagement and air mobility, will be practiced later in the exercise. It should be noted that pilots and their aircraft from Japan are invited to the exercise. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that the Japanese-Indian air exercise ended very recently.

New Delhi then sent four of its Su-30MKIs into joint air operations with Japan’s F-15s. BulgarianMilitary.com wrote then that the Japanese pilots will be allowed to get to know the Russian-original Su-30 in more detail.

The F-15 will also participate in this exercise. Apart from the inventory of the Japanese Air Force, they will be part of the American Air Force in the region. In addition to the F-15 and Su-30MKI, the Indian Rafale, Tejas, and Jaguar will participate in the exercise. Especially for the Indian-origin Tejas, this exercise will be a great challenge and good practice as India tries to improve and upgrade the base version of Tejas Mk1.

Indian media write that against the background of the war in Ukraine, seeing an American pilot and a general in a Russian fighter jet is a sight worth seeing.


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