Indian Navy’s Sea King, Chetak, Marine Commandos Display Battle Tactics On Hooghly River
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Indian Navy’s Sea King, Chetak, Marine Commandos Display Battle Tactics On Hooghly River

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As part of the Swarnim Vijay Varsh 2021 celebrations at Kolkata, the Indian Navy conducted a maiden Operational Demonstration on the Hooghly River on March 20. This unique event displayed the maritime prowess of assets and personnel who sail the high seas as well as operate along the coast. Two Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC), four Navy Patrol Boats, one each Sea King and Chetak helicopter, a Marine Commando (MARCOS) team and a Coast Guard Air Cushion Vessel (CG ACV) demonstrated in the ‘Op Demo’.

Formation Flying

A high speed ‘Steampast’ by four armed Navy Patrol Boats opened the Op Demo on the Hooghly, followed by the CG ACV, which operating from Haldia, glided over the surface of the Hooghly river displaying its unique manoeuvres. It was followed by WJFACs sailing down the river, executing precise navigational manoeuvres and anchoring mid-river. Formation flying by a Sea King and Chetak helicopter took the demo to the skies, after which the Chetak demonstrated ‘Search and Rescue’ of a simulated rescue of a drowning person from the river.

Marine Commandos

Both helicopters thereafter displayed their aerial prowess by performing ‘helibatics’ for the audience. The MARCOS displayed their skill in undertaking fast airborne insertion into occupied territory by slithering down from a Sea King onto a Gemini Assault Watercraft followed by a simulated clandestine beach assault. This was followed by a swift ‘extraction’ by the Sea King utilising a method known as STIE (Small Team Insertion and Extraction), wherein the Commandos latched onto a special rope underslung from the helicopter and were flown out hanging onto it.

Patriotic Fervour

The final aerial act witnessed the Chetak displaying vertical replenishment and transferring a Memento from the river to the seating area which was presented by Vice Admiral AB Singh, Flag officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command to the Chief Guest. After a final high-speed salute by the Naval Patrol Boats, the gathering was treated to some patriotic fervour by the Navy Band.

Sunset Ceremony

The Op Demo concluded with the ‘Sunset Ceremony’ wherein the Naval Ensigns at BabuGhat and on the naval ships anchored mid-river, were lowered along with the firing of flares by the ships into the sky illuminating their silhouettes. A stellar fireworks display over the Hooghly brought the curtain down on the ‘Samudri Virasat Pradarshan’. This was the first time that such an event, involving Naval ships, patrol boats, aircraft and a CG hovercraft, was conducted on the Hooghly at Kolkata. The historic first event enthralled an audience that included armed forces personnel from all three Services, Veterans and general public including children and NCC cadets who thronged the riverbanks of the Hooghly to watch this unique spectacle in Kolkata.

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