Parrikar witnesses Navy's TROPEX-2015 in Arabian Sea

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the Indian Navy must remain a superior force in the Indian Ocean Region and promised that the government would provide it all support to become a truly blue water navy.
Addressing sailors and officers of the INS Vikramaditya yesterday after witnessing two days of Theatre Readiness Operational Level Exercise (TROPEX-2015), off the coast of Goa in the Arabian Sea, he said his stay on board the aircraft carrier had helped him understand the difficult situations that the Defence Forces, especially sailors and officers of the Indian Navy, face while ensuring the safety and security of the nation. 
TROPEX provides the Navy a valuable opportunity to validate its concept of operations and integration of new acquisitions with the fleet. 
Mr Parrikar was accompanied by Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Chief Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan and Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command Vice Admiral A K Chopra. 
The two completely networked fleets of the Indian Navy -- the Eastern and the Western -- were kept widely dispersed across seas in the Indian Ocean during the exercise, operating in a dense electronic environment to match their professional and technical proficiency. 
All the operations were facilitated by a robust and seamless communication network, including satellite communications under the Navy’s overall thrust on Network Centric Operations, aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India’. 
Mr Parrikar also released a postage stamp commemorating the indigenous Naval communication satellite Rukmani, which is a dedicated Naval satellite, taking the Navy another step forward in achieving complete digitisation of communications. 
The stamp release, which took place on board INS Vikramaditya, was relayed live to naval units at sea, as well as to Maritime Operations Centres ashore. Rukmani has been pivotal in ensuring seamless connectivity between the triad of surface, sub-surface and air platforms of the Navy. 
New weapons, sensors, communication systems and tactics were tested during the exercise and tried to optimize the net combat power of the fleets. 
Over forty 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 participated in the exercise. As would be the case in any operation of the twenty first century, the exercise had a jointmanship element of IAF with participation by aircraft such as Sukhois, Mirages and Jaguars. 
During the embarkation, the dignitaries were provided an overview of the multi-dimensional capabilities of the Indian Navy. The Navy demonstrated multiple facets of operations during the period which encompassed a variety of weapon firings, MiG 29K and Sea Harrier operations from the two aircraft carriers, integration of the P8I aircraft with fleet, and operations by the Navy’s Marine Commandos. 
The Navy has deployed two Carrier Task Forces after many years during the exercise. The Defence Minister also witnessed a vertical launch of the Brahmos, supersonic long range anti- shipping cruise missile, from the recently commissioned stealth destroyer INS Kolkata, a major milestone in itself. This was particularly satisfying as the launch of the missile was an affirmation of the country's indigenous weapon capabilities, an official press release said.
In pursuit of the Navy’s thrust to inspire the young generation, 30 NCC cadets from 8 Karwar NU NCC embarked onboard INS Mumbai and witnessed the operations. Two of these cadets also got an opportunity to be transferred at sea to INS Vikramaditya by ‘Jackstay’ – an evolution wherein ships transfer men and material between them. Mr Parrikar hoped this practice will be continued with larger number of cadets being given exposure to the ways of the Forces so that they are inspired to join the Navy, Army and Air Force in large numbers. 
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. A clear dark night laid an ideal setting for this demonstration of precision targeting. 
Mr Parrikar also witnessed a full scale air power demonstration from INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat with MiG 29 Ks, Sea Harriers, Seakings, UH3H, ALHs and Chetaks participating. 
The recently acquired MiG 29Ks proved their mettle by showing the STOBAR operations including the bombing runs. Mr Parrikar was also shown the reputed professionalism of the MARCOS as they carried out a demonstration of insertion and extraction in the middle of the ocean by slithering. During this battle, the Defence Minister also witnessed, first hand, the potency of the upgraded Sea Harriers, particularly in the networked environment. 
In addition to operational activities, various in-house innovations and efforts towards increased indigenisation were also presented to the Defence Minister, which helped showcase the Navy’s efforts towards self-reliance. 

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