Rajat Pandit, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Navy has fine-tuned its operational strategy and honed its combat skills after a major exercise, which saw both the western and eastern fleets come together for intensive manoeuvres, in the Arabian Sea over the last 30 days.
Over 50 warships, including the new stealth frigates as well as nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra, as well as 75 fighter jets, patrol aircraft and helicopters took part in the exercise called “Tropex” (theatre-level readiness and operational exercise), which stretched across the entire western seaboard.
“All possible scenarios, from full-fledged combat operations to anti-piracy drills, were practiced during the exercise. It also included an amphibious component involving over 2,000 Army troops, tanks, amphibious vehicles and associated equipment,” said an official.
“Elements from the IAF, like their maritime strike¬†Jaguar¬†fighters, and the Coast Guard also took part in the exercise. The lessons learnt will be suitably incorporated in the operational strategy,” he added.
The exercise also witnessed the Navy practice operational concepts like maritime manoeuvre from the sea”, designed to ensure the maritime force Navy is capable of favourably influencing the outcome of the land-air battle in the short, swift and high-tempo conflicts of the future.
The armed forces have also been practising amphibious warfare drills over the last few years to ensure they can effectively take the battle to enemy shores. This has come after Navy acquired the 16,900-tonne strategic sea-lift vessel INS Jalashwa from US as well as inducted large landing ship tanks like the 5,650-tonne INS Shardul and INS Airavat.
The Army, on its part, has three specifically-earmarked ‘amphibious brigades’, with almost 10,000 soldiers, one based in South India, another in West India and the third at Andaman and Nicobar Islands.