Bengaluru, Feb 14: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar got a feel of Indian Navy and its operational abilities after spending almost spending 20 hours onboard INS Vikramaditya.
Naval sources told OneIndia that Parrikar landed onboard the INS Vikramaditya on February 13 at 4 pm and witnessed a series of operational capabilities of Indian Navy.
The minister witnessed the Theatre Readiness Operational Level Exercise (TROPEX-2015), off the coast of Goa in the Arabian Sea. He said the stay on board INS Vikramaditya helped him understand the difficult situations of sailors and officers of the Indian Navy.
He wanted the Indian Navy to remain a superior force in the Indian Ocean Region and promised all support so that it becomes a truly Blue Water Navy.
Visit kept under complete secrecy
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) kept Parrikar's visit on board INS Vikramaditya completely under a cover of secrecy. Even the MoD officials who were summoned to make arrangements for the minister's visit were clueless about their final destination. Navy spokesperson warded off queries when a section of media got leads on the minister's visit.
Interestingly, Parrikar was accompanied by his understudy and Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, Chief Minister of Goa Laxmikant Parsekar, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan and Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command Vice Admiral A K Chopra.
TROPEX provides the Navy a valuable opportunity to validate its concept of operations and integration of new acquisitions with the Fleet.
INS Chakra part of TROPEX
Parrkiar & Co witnessed multiple facets of operations during the period including a variety of weapon firing. The MiG 29K and Sea Harrier operations from the two aircraft carriers, integration of the P8I aircraft with the fleet, and operations by the Marine Commandos (MARCOS) were some of the glimpses of its might Indian Navy put together.
Over 40 surface combatants of various classes including the two aircraft carriers (Vikramaditya and Viraat), submarines including the INS Chakra, a large number of aircraft and UAVs are participating in the exercise.
The MoD said that two completely networked Eastern and Western Fleets were kept widely dispersed across seas in the Indian Ocean, operating in a dense electronic environment to match their professional and technical proficiency.
The Indian Air Force assets including the Sukhois, Mirages and Jaguars to joined the sea party. As reported in these columns earlier, Parrikar also witnessed the successful vertical launch of the BrahMos missile from stealth destroyer INS Kolkata.
MiG 29Ks perform bombing runs
Sources said that the professionalism of MARCOS impressed the minister. The MARCOS carried out a demonstration of insertion and extraction in the middle of the ocean by slithering.
The recently acquired MiG 29Ks proved their mettle by showing the STOBAR operations including the bombing runs.
A critical part of Anti-Missile Defence being Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), the Defence Minister witnessed the successful interception of a fast, low flying, surface-to-surface missile by a SAM. "Clear dark night laid an ideal setting for this demonstration of precision targeting," sources said.