ANI Photo | France: Rafale jets participates in ongoing Exercise Orion, makes first participation in overseas drill

The Indian Air Force’s Rafale fighters participated in the ongoing Exercise Orion in France, an international military exercise in France, marking their first participation in an overseas drill.
Shivangi Singh, the Indian Air Force’s first woman Rafale pilot is part of the Indian team that is participating in the Exercise Orion, they said.
The IAF had sent a woman fighter pilot for the first time to an international exercise in January this year when Squadron Leader Avni Chaturvedi went to Japan for the exercise Dharma Guardian.
Shivangi Singh joined the Indian Air Force in 2017 and was commissioned in the IAF’s second batch of women fighter pilots.
France and India began a military exercise ‘Orion’ at Mont-de-Marsan, an Air Force base of the French Air and Space Force (FASF) on April 17.
Taking to Twitter, France Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain earlier said, “France warmly welcomes the @IAF_MCC contingent that will take part in exercise #Orion2023 from today! French & Indian #Rafale jets will soon fly together in the skies of France.”
The exercise is being conducted from April 17 to May 5, 2023, with the IAF Contingent comprising four Rafale, two C-17, two ll-78 aircraft and 165 air warriors. This is the first overseas exercise for the IAF’s Rafale aircraft, according to the statement released by Defence Ministry.

“Besides the IAF and the FASF, Air Forces from Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and the United States would also be flying in this multilateral exercise. Participation in this exercise would further enrich the employment philosophy of the India Air Force, by imbibing the best practices from other Air Forces,” the statement read.
Earlier, defence officials told ANI that Indian Rafale combat aircraft are likely to participate in a multinational wargame codenamed Orion which is being hosted by France and involving many of its NATO and other important allies.
“Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jets are likely to fly to France to participate in Exercise Orion being held at a French air base there. The wargames are planned to be held from the third week of April to May 5,” defence officials told ANI.
Orion is reportedly the largest ever multinational exercise being carried out by the French defence forces which have involved their Army, Navy and Air Force along with their allies the US and the UK.
Over 7,000 NATO troops have reportedly taken part in the drill involving the land forces of their NATO allies.
Recently, Exercise Cope India, in which The Indian Air Force and the United States Air Force (USAF) took part from April 10, culminated on April 25 at Kalaikunda, West Bengal.
The Rafale aircraft are the latest fighters to have been inducted into the Indian Air Force and are considered to be the most potent in the entire Asian region.
The 36 Rafales have been completely inducted and they have played a significant role in improving the country’s operational preparedness along both the borders with Pakistan and China. (ANI)

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