Wednesday, March 3, 2021

‘From maritime strikes to armed helicopters’: How India conducted Kavach drill

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Indian armed forces conducted a large-scale joint military training exercise ‘Kavach’ along with “AMPHEX-21” in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal on Monday. Performed under the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), the drill saw the participation of the Eastern Naval Command and Army Southern Command involving the Indian Army, Navy, Indian Air Force and the Coast Guard.

The exercise involved participation and deployment of all forces of ANC, elements of the amphibious brigade of the army’s Southern Command along with corvettes, submarine and amphibious landing ships of Navy’s Eastern Fleet and Marine Commandos. Jaguar maritime strike and transport aircraft from Indian Air Force and assets of the Coast Guard also participated.

How was the drill conducted?

The exercise began with maritime strikes by Jaguar aircraft, para and marine commandos carrying out Combat Free Fall at Car Nicobar with an aim to validate air dominance and maritime strike capability within the area of interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Before the amphibious landing operations, troops of the army, navy and air force were mobilised and transported by sea and air in close coordination with all agencies.

As part of shaping the battlefield, MARCOS along with their combat loads and Air Droppable Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (ADR) were dropped over the Andaman Sea, enabling the marine commandos to reach the target with stealth and speed. MI-17 V5 Armed Helicopters undertook precision targeting against designated enemy assets at sea and on land.

The training exercise culminated with the beach landing operations by elements of the amphibious brigade of Southern Command from INS Jalashwa, Airavat, Guldar and LCU MK-4 class of ships with 600 troops along with tanks, troop carrier vehicles and other heavy weapons. The logistic team demonstrated and validated the joint logistic system and its capabilities to respond to dynamic changes in operational situations and combat missions.

Strategic significance

The areas in which the exercise was conducted holds strategic significance for India. The drill comes at a time when India and China are engaged in a border standoff in the eastern Ladakh theatre and the Indian Navy has increased surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to keep tabs on China’s moves to expand its footprint in the strategic waters.

The ministry of defence said that the exercise also validated joint capabilities of intelligence gathering from space, air, land and sea-based assets, its synthesis, analysis and near real-time sharing to achieve battlefield transparency for quick decision making.

The joint force executed multi-domain, high-intensity offensive and defensive manoeuvres in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. The tri-services exercise fine-tuned joint warfighting capabilities and Standard Operating Procedures towards enhancing operational synergy, the ministry statement added.

Commander-in-chief Andaman and Nicobar Command visited the exercise area in the Southern Group of Islands to oversee the exercise and commended all ranks for the high level of operational preparedness, the defence ministry said.

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