The citizens and visitors including a good number of foreign tourists were enthralled by the scintillating operational demonstration by the personnel of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) and the pilots of Indian Air Force (IAF), as part of the Navy Day celebrations, at RK Beach on Wednesday.
Thousands of people thronged the beach to see the display of the might and operational capabilities of the Indian Navy. The highlight was the aerobatic performance given by aerobatic team of Indian Air Force – the Suryakiran.
Displaying various formations such as arrow head, delta, tejas, vajra and anchor, the nine Hawk Mk 132 aircraft left the audience in awe. The Suryakiran team performed at the ENC demonstration after a gap of five years and they did not disappoint the people.
“Flying at just 200 metre above the ground and at 700 km per hour, the nine jets performed some death-defying feat, leaving us breathless,” said Rajesh Tiwari, a tourist from Chhattisgarh.
The show began with two microlight gliders making a flypast and firing of a mid-size howitzer, as Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was the chief guest, made his entry to the venue with Vice-Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of ENC .
The crowd jumped with enthusiasm when the nine-team Marcos (marine commandos) made a controlled free fall from a Dornier aircraft. The commandos, jumped from the aircraft with the national flag and naval flag from over 30,000 feet and landed on the performance dais with precision.
Slithering down the rope from a Sea King helicopter and making a beach landing from the fast moving Gemini boats, the Marcos also demonstrated a high-octane amphibious attack and extraction operation in simulated environment.
“This is a feat which I will remember for ever. The commandos dressed in black fatigues, are the members of the only amphibious force of the country. It is a three-dimensional force (operating from air, sea and land). The commandos gave us an adrenaline rush,” said S. Chakravarthi, an engineering student.
Search and rescue ops
The naval divers demonstrated a mid-sea search and rescue operation using Gemini boats and Kamov helicopter.
Different class of naval ships such as INS Shivalik, INS Ranjit, INS Rajput and INS Jalashwa, performed a sail past and a simulated exercise with helicopters landing on their decks. Various naval aircraft and helicopters such as Chetak, Kamov, Sea King, Dorniers, P8i and the Hawk jets performed a formation sortie.
Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who attended the show for the first time after becoming Chief Minister, was seen visibly thrilled by the performance. The show ended with a pyrotechnic display and illumination of a fleet of ships including INS Sindhurashtra that dotted the coastline.
Navy Day is celebrated on December 4 every year to commemorate the successful naval attack on Karachi Harbour in Pakistan, as part of the ‘Operation Trident’ during the 1971 war.
Indian Navy’s missile boats had attacked Karachi Harbour, sinking at least four Pakistani ships and destroying the harbour extensively. The operation is believed to have played a decisive role in the 1971 war.