The U.S. Air Force has cancelled Phase-I of its flagship multilateral air exercise, Red Flag, scheduled in Alaska from April 30.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) was to take part in the exercise with its Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, defence sources said.
“We got communication that Red Flag Alaska 20-1, scheduled from April 30 to May 15, has been cancelled due to COVID-19,” a defence source said. The U.S. Pacific Air Fleet said on its website that the exercise was cancelled owing to the travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. Department of Defence.
In the past, the IAF deployed Su-30MKI and Jaguar strike aircraft, the Il-78 tankers and the C-17 strategic airlift aircraft. The IAF joined Red Flag for the first time in 2008 in Nevada. However, it had said it would not take part in every edition of the biennial exercise because of the high cost involved.
Red Flag-Alaska is a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise meant to provide realistic training in a simulated combat environment over the Joint Pacific Alaska range complex, according to information on the U.S. Pacific Air Force website.