Indian Navy and IAF coordinate in maiden RIB air drop followed by a Combat Freefall exercise by MARCOS, showcasing joint capabilities for maritime missions
The Indian Navy and Air Force achieved another milestone by conducting the maiden air drop of a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RIB) from a C-17 aircraft near Visakhapatnam on September 19, 2023. This operation, as per Navy officials, showcased the seamless coordination between the two forces in a challenging maritime setting.
Following the precise airdrop, the Marine Commandos (MARCOS), a specialised unit of the Indian Navy known for their expertise in amphibious assault and other missions, executed a Combat Freefall manoeuvre into the sea. This feat demonstrated their HALO (High-Altitude, Low-Opening) parachute jump capabilities, which are necessary to deploy during an array of maritime operations. After landing safely in the water, the MARCOS boarded the airdropped RIB, as per visuals.
This joint operation demonstrates another example of the growing integration of capabilities between the Indian Navy and IAF and the interoperability between the tri-services. It further signifies their capacity for mutual strategising and execution of intricate missions within the maritime domain. Among the various missions that stand to benefit from this collaboration are anti-piracy efforts, counter-terrorism operations, and thwarting maritime smuggling activities.
Additionally, this exercise enhances the Indian Navy’s capabilities in Medium-Range Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIOs). These operations involve intercepting, boarding, and potentially detaining vessels at sea, typically in coastal or territorial waters. They serve to enforce maritime laws and regulations, encompassing objectives such as countering piracy, suppressing smuggling activities, and enforcing sanctions.