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Sukhoi secrets: Indian deployment gives Japan opportunity to study Russian fighter jets

Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKIs from No 220 Squadron assemble at Hyakuri Air Base in Japan on 10 January 2023. The airbase, which is located 80 km northwest of Tokyo, hosts several Japan Air Self-Defense Force units, including a squadron of Mitsubishi F-2 combat jets. (Indian Air Force)

A deployment of Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft to Japan has given Tokyo an opportunity to study the capabilities and technologies of Russian-origin combat jets in detail while deepening the country's military relationship with India.

The IAF has deployed four IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKI Flanker-Hs, two Boeing C-17A Globemaster IIIs, and one Ilyushin Il-78 Midas air-to-air refueller to Hyakuri Air Base in Japan as part of Exercise ‘Veer Guardian 2023'. The IAF combat jets will conduct a series of joint air exercises with four Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Mitsubishi F-2A/B interceptors and four Boeing F-15J/DJ combat jets between 12 and 26 January, the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

According to Tokyo and New Delhi, this is the first air exercise involving Indian military aircraft over Japanese airspace. Plans to hold the air exercise were announced by Tokyo in December 2022.

While the four F-2A/Bs are from the JASDF's 7th Air Wing, which operates from Hyakuri, the F-15J/DJs are attached to the JASDF's Air Tactics Development Wing, according to the Japanese MoD. The JASDF has released imagery showing that the F-15s are from the Aggressor Squadron of the JASDF's Tactical Fighter Training Group. The squadron, which is known as Hiko Kyodotai, is based at Komatsu Air Base.

The Tactical Fighter Training Group provides dissimilar air-combat training to JASDF units, according to information held by Janes

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