The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) are currently carrying out a six-day inaugural joint exercise, Exercise Udara Shakti 2022 in Malaysia’s state of Kuantan airspace and the surrounding area. The RMAF and IAF aircraft will perform tactical flights by flying low in certain areas that had been gazetted for the purpose. The series of drills will be based on the concept of field training exercise, and subject matter exchange, with the objective of strengthening the military-to-military relationship, and interoperability between the two services.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Indian Ministry of Defence said: “The 4-day-long exercise will give an opportunity to IAF contingent members to share and learn best practices with some of the best professionals from RMAF and also discuss mutual combat capabilities. The exercise will give an opportunity to IAF contingent members to share and learn best practices with some of the best professionals from RMAF, while also discussing mutual combat capabilities”.
The IAF deploys the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI, C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, and Ilyushin IL-78 “Midas” air-to-air refueller aircraft, while the RMAF will be flying the Su-30 MKM aircraft to the exercise. The four days of exercise will witness conduct of various aerial combat drills between the two air forces. The IAF Sukhoi Su-30 MKI flew non-stop from India to Malaysia while inducting for the air excercise. The aircrafts receiving fuel from an Ilyushin IL-78 MKI air-to-air refuelling aircraft.
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Sukhoi Su-30MKM is a supermaneuverable fighter of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The Su-30MKM was developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and is based on the Su-30MKI of the Indian Air Force. Both aircraft have common airframe, thrust vectoring engines and digital fly-by-wire system, however the MKM version differs from the MKI mainly in the composition of the onboard avionics. It can carry up to 8,000 kg (17,637 lb) payload over a 1,296 km (805 mi; 700 nmi) un-refueled combat radius.