An Indian Air Force C-17 transport aircraft lands at the Hyakuri Air Base for Exercise Veer Guardian (Image courtesy: Twitter/@Aopon_GRF_STI)
As the inaugural joint Air Exercise between India and Japan gathers steam, the presence of Indian Air Force’s frontline Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft at the Hyakuri Air Base, about 80 km northeast of Tokyo, has generated a lot of buzz in the large aviation enthusiast community of Japan.
A huge number of plane spotters, also known as ‘AvGeeks’, parked themselves outside the Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) base located in the Omitama City of Ibaraki Prefecture much before the arrival of a nearly 150-member strong IAF contingent on Tuesday for Exercise ‘Veer Guardian-2023’ that kicked off on January 12.
Hyakuri is the only air base in the Tokyo metropolitan area that has a combat air wing and was once home to the former Navy Hyakurigahara Air Corps, which was established in 1938. In 2010, as the Ibaraki Airport terminal building was completed, the airfield was shared with the airbase.
Watch: Indian fighter jets welcomed in Japan with water cannon salute
There are several ‘observation decks’ overlooking the main civil aircraft ramp and the military aircraft across the main runway which are considered good for plane-watching.
Armed with sophisticated cameras, phones and tripods, dozens of aviation geeks climbed on top of their car roof to catch a glimpse and record the landing of IAF’s four Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft, two C-17 transport aircraft and one IL-78 aircraft (being used for aerial refueling of fighters) at the airbase.
The photographs and videos shot by them, including those which showed Indian aircraft receiving a traditional water cannon salute welcome after landing, soon went viral on social media.
とにかく静かでシャッター音しかしません😅#百里基地#インド空軍 #フランカー #Su30MKI #VeerGuardian2023 pic.twitter.com/BxHPaAJmiq
— IWAMETAL♂🦊🤘 (@IWAMETAL1) January 10, 2023
The holding of the first joint fighter jet drills, reflecting the growing security cooperation between the countries, continues to create a lot of excitement in Japan.
From providing regular weather updates to tracking the movement of the aircraft on the tarmac, the plane-spotters have contributed extensively to make ‘Veer Guardian-2023’ trend on social media, especially Twitter.
#百里基地#インド空軍 #スホーイ #Su30#VeerGuardian2023
— まなみぃ (@manamii0922) January 14, 2023
なお、カバーかかる前#百里基地 #IndianAirForce #VeerGuardian pic.twitter.com/ctanH9AMvD
— えりんぎ＠ちばらぎ (@eringi_0806) January 12, 2023
The exercise is not just deepening strategic ties and closer defence cooperation between the two countries but also doing its bit in uniting the aviation enthusiast communities of India and Japan.
“A big appreciation to the Japanese photographers. Posting such beautiful pictures of Flankers, Globemaster and Gajraj. Never seen such beautifully set shots. Exceptional quality,” posted an Indian aviation aficionado on Twitter.
A big appreciation to the Japanese Photographers. Posting such beautiful pictures of Flankers, Globemaster and Gajraj🤩. Never seen such beautifully set shots. Exceptional quality #ExVeerGuardian2023 #百里基地
Credits to the respective owners.@305Wata @tabipapajp @nyantendo_ pic.twitter.com/X5dKoH7WJS
— SATYA SRIKAR (@TrisonicFoxbat) January 10, 2023
The exercise, to be held till January 26, is also seeing the participation of JASDF’s four Mitsubishi F-2 multirole fighters and four F-15 aircraft.
I am looking forward to eat SEICOMART’s KATSUDON, OMI-YOG’s ice cream and 山岡家’s Ramen from January 16th.#ExVeerGuardian2023 🇮🇳🇯🇵#FreeAndOpenIndoPacific pic.twitter.com/Tvisghynna
— もぐら (@M0GURA_) January 14, 2023
Not just the aviation geeks, but even the officials of the JASDF Hyakuri Base are quite excited to watch India’s indigenously manufactured SU-30MKI parked alongside its Japanese fighters.
#ナマスカール！#नमस्कार！#Ｆ２ と #Ｓｕ３０ を並べて撮影しました！ #アッチャー（いいね）！#अच्छा！#インド空軍 #IndianAirForce #VeerGuardian2023#スホーイ #Su30MKI #ナマステフランカー pic.twitter.com/upAgGxAD2M
— 航空自衛隊百里基地 (@jasdf_hyakuri) January 13, 2023
Not surprisingly, another week full of multi-domain air combat missions and drills starting Monday will give an adrenaline rush not just to the participants from the two air forces but also to the onlookers.
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