New Delhi, April 28
In a daring midnight operation, pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) landed a plane on remote airstrip in Sudan to rescued 121 people including medical cases and a pregnant woman.
IAF’s special operations plane C-130 J planed without runway lights on ground and no navigational landing aids at a small airstrip at Wadi Siedna, about 40 km north of Khartoum Sudan.
The 121 people had no means to reach Port Sudan located at a distance of some 850 kms from Wadi Siedna.
The operation was carried out on the night of intervening April 27 and 28. Wadi Siedna airstrip has a degraded surface, with no navigational approach aids or refuelling facility. Critically its does not have or landing lights required to guide an aircraft landing at night.
Approaching the airstrip, the IAF pilots used their onboard electro-optical and infrared sensors to ensure that the runway was free from any obstructions and no inimical forces were in the vicinity. Pilots carried out a tactical approach – as done in war zones—using night vision goggles.
On landing, the aircraft engines were kept running while eight IAF ‘Garud Commandos’ fully armed with automatic weapons secured the passengers and their luggage into the aircraft. The take-off from the runway was again carried out with night vision googles.
The audacious operation lasted two and a half hour between Wadi Siedna and Jeddah Saudi Arabia. It was done flawlessly, the IAF said tonight.
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