Military News

Monday, March 16, 2015

Aero India 15 showcases India-U.S. partnership

from PACAF Exercises and Readiness Division

3/16/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- From Feb. 18 through 22, more than 95 U.S. military personnel and Department of Defense civilians were among the thousands assembled from around the globe to participate in Aero India 2015, the region's largest tradeshow.

"The tradeshow allowed the U.S. to strengthen its ties with India while furthering military to military relationships," said Maj. Gen. Kevin Pottinger, Pacific Air Forces commander mobilization assistant and lead U.S. Pacific Command representative at Aero India 15.

This year's tradeshow featured the largest and most significant cross-section of U.S. military aircraft and equipment since its inception in 1996, totaling seven aircraft.  Support included the US Air Force's F-16 and C-17 Demonstration Teams and F-15D Eagle and KC-135 tanker static displays.  The U.S. Navy also supported the event with a P-8A Poseidon static, while the U.S. Army Special Forces led multiple combined personnel jumps during the event.

During Aero India, PACAF's F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team, stationed at Misawa Air Base, Japan, electrified over 200,000 spectators in nine separate aerial demonstrations, expertly showcasing the capabilities of one of the U.S. Air Force's leading fighters.  In addition, the C-17 Globemaster III, stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, took to the skies and impressed all with its exceptional large-aircraft climb, turn and short-field landing capabilities.

An Aero India favorite was the combined U.S. Army and Indian Special Forces free fall jumps from a PACAF C-17, which was the first time the two units jumped together.  The jumps demonstrated U.S.-Indian interoperability and provided a unique training opportunity for more than forty Special Forces personnel.  

"Aero India was a great opportunity to expand U.S. ties with our Indian counterparts," said U.S. Air Force Col. Keith Gibson, U.S. forces air boss for those participating in the event.  "We are honored to be here to demonstrate our partnership with India and remain committed to strengthening our military relationships."

The partnership between India and the United States was on full display at the tradeshow.  Many Indian military personnel had the opportunity to view U.S. military aircraft up close through demonstrations, orientation flights and static displays.

Military members were available to explain aircraft capabilities, highlight the diversity of U.S. military missions, and share their varying experiences with enthusiastic foreign military personnel and visitors to the air show.  Notable visitors included the U.S. Ambassador to India the Honorable Richard Verma and Vice Admiral Joseph Rixey, Director of Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

"This airshow came at a critical juncture to the US-India relationship.  President Obama's January visit to New Delhi and Secretary Kendall's robust engagement to energize the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) reflect India's growth as an important and capable strategic partner with like-minded objectives for regional growth and stability," said an official spokesperson.  " The U.S. was the largest foreign contingent at the show, with 64 companies represented, eight senior leaders and seven of the 11 foreign aircraft.  It was clear to those on hand that the Indo-US relationship is an important pillar in our Pacific rebalance strategy."

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