Cope India 2005 underway

U.S., Indian Airmen take next step in growing relationship

Began yesterday:

About 250 Airmen from Pacific Air Forces join several hundred of their Indian counterparts for the two-week, dissimilar air combat training exercise in which simulated combat flying takes place among different types of aircraft.

“The reason we have come together for this exercise is so that we can work together,” said Indian Air Force Group Captain Hari Kumar, exercise director.

There are F-16 Fighting Falcons from Misawa Air Base, Japan, and an E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system aircraft from Kadena AB, Japan, taking part in the exercise. The Indians will fly several MiG model aircraft, as well as the Su-30.

Maybe we’ll see some F/A-22s next year. After all, it was the poor showing by US F-15s last year that gave a lot of boost to Raptor supporters.

Incidentally, I don’t think its a coincidence that the India-US military relationship has made so many headlines of late.

UPDATE: Here’s a shot of the US contingent. Note the two-seater fourth from the top (#477):

(click for big version)

UPDATE: Meanwhile, US and Japanese planes will tangle this week and next off the coast of Japan in Cope North.


  1. There’s been a lot of debate over what those F-15 results from last year mean. From what I have read, the conditions of the exercises were not meant to be a fair fight between some F-15s and some Indian aircraft (Su30MKIs I think). They were meant, rather, to test shorter range tactics, and perhaps to give an advantage to the Indians, perhaps so that they can test their tactics against a threat which simultates someone they would more likely actually end up fighting. I’m not sure. But I really don’t think it was a ‘fair fight’ in the sense of what would happen during open hostilities, therefore I would be careful drawing conclusions about the aircraft or pilots (of either side) directly from it.

  2. Yes it is true it was not a ‘fair’ fight especially if we go by the meaning of the word as understood by Nicholas, namely that the conditions would not be replicated if hostilities were to open up between these two Nations! According to him the Rules of Engagement were unfair because no AWACS were allowed, F-22s did not show up, satellites did not guide the US forces, F-111s did not bomb the opposing airbases, B52s, B1s and B2s did not level the opposing airfields, special forces did not sabotage the opposing systems, US forces did not sabotage the Indian computer systems, etc. Under such blatantly ‘unfair’ ROE the US forces did get creamed! So indeed there are no lessons to learned except for the USAF which has made changes to its curriculum and removed restrictions on its Red Forces! Obviously they are wasting time and the USAF is wasting tax payers money by going through such a useless exercise. And by the way Indians did not use their modified SU30 MKIs last year. Obviously from Nicholas’ point of view there would have been some advantage to the US forces if the IAF had used SU 30 MKIs instead of SU30 MKs somehow! Nicholas perhaps you need to refamiliarize yourself with the definition of the word ‘fair’. In my humble opinion while testing whether an F15 is superior or inferior to SU30 or whatever, it is eminently fair to limit the force multipliers such as AWACS etc to a minimum. Every time you add something else to the pot you are no longer testing just the planes but instead a whole bunch of other things. And the data gathered is no longer suitable for answering your original question. In 2005 version of the exercise F16s are being tested with AWACS against SU30 MKIs and other aircrafts which may or may not be getting feed from the same AWACS. If the F16s win it would be unfair to say that SU30 MKIs are an inferior platform. It would however be emonently fair to say that F16s plus AWACS is superior to SU30 MKIs and the same thing could be said for the pilots i.e. US pilots flying F16s supported by AWACS are superior to Indian pilots flying SU30 MKIs. I have a feeling that if the results turn out otherwise people like Nicholas will then claim that the results are still unfair because the US did not get to use F111s to bomb the Indian planes on the ground before strafing them to oblivion as they would try to do in a shooting war! I posit that that is a different experiment to be left for another day.

  3. Sometimes it comes to ‘testing your BASIC skills’. Machine always fights for you, but the men/women who are driving it their skills (oerational, adaptive and applied) matters the most…in which Indian Airforce proved better last year!!!!

  4. cope india 2005 is to do missions together and not against each other. IAF wanted to be familiarised with AWACS environment and USAF would get a taste of Sukhoi’s. IAF has extremely skilled pilots which can make any aircraft, an effective aircraft. It is good that the largest democracy and the finest democracy are moving together.

  5. Cope india 2005 or 2004 is not about India against US, it is about learning each other in future cooperations.

  6. Hey, its like the Indian IT brains running the silicon valley in California, similarly air combat requires a very sharp quick mind which the indian pilots possess due to their training and school education. its showing all over the world in all spheres of activity. Imagine if the wherewithal was in Indians hands…they would be much better at the job than the USAF pilots, whom they are bettering in the mock exercises as it is. just see the latest in nov 2005.

  7. maybe its the mathematical ability of the indians who can process more data than an average usaf pilot in real quick time which is making all the difference. Its a wake up call and time to make correct strategic choices to befriend a truly intelligent democratic progressive secular nation who think similar

  8. Hey guys… do you believe that besides the additional training that the IAF and USAF fighter pilots are getting, these exercises are propaganda for 1)convincing the American people that F-22 and F-35 aircraft are needed, in larger numbers, to oppose advancements in foreign aircraft and 2)to convince the IAF and Indian people that fancy new American equipment including AWACS would be a good purchase I think these two overarching needs are what drives these exercises