Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria flew a sortie in an Israeli F-15 fighter jet during his visit to Tel Aviv, the Indian Air Force said in a statement today. The IAF chief flew in the American-origin twin-engine fighter jet on the last day of his visit to Israel. Visuals show the IAF chief sitting in the cockpit as the F-15 taxied down the runway of an air base before it took off.
"During the visit, he called on Major General Amikam Norkin, Commander Israeli Air Force and held wide-ranging discussions on all bilateral Air Force interactions. He flew a sortie there in an F-15 fighter and was given an overview of Israeli Air Force's operational environment," the IAF said in the statement.
"The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) had very productive meetings with the DG MoD and Chief of the General Staff on matters of mutual interest and bilateral defence cooperation," the IAF said.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and his Israeli counterpart also visited the Yad Vashem, a memorial of the Holocaust, and paid their homage. They laid wreaths at the cemetery for Indian soldiers in Talpioth, Jerusalem.
The IAF chief's visit to Israel marks an important milestone in the Indian Air Force and the Israeli Air Force's ties, with both sides reaffirming a shared vision of enhanced bilateral engagements and multidisciplinary professional exchanges.
India extensively uses Israeli defence hardware and technology.
Indian fighter jets that struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in February 2019 used Israeli-made SPICE 2000 penetrator glide bombs, which accurately struck their targets.
India also uses another key Israeli air-to-surface missile called the Crystal Maze.