Defence experts hail landing of C 130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft at Daulat Beg Oldie

New Delhi, Aug. 20 (ANI): Defence and security analysts on Tuesday welcomed the historic landing of C-130J Super Hercules transport plane at the world's highest and recently-activated Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip in Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control, and said that it is a significant achievement for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Defence Analyst Commodore (Retd.) C. Uday Bhaskar said that IAF landing at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in the Himalayas is a reflection of their professionalism.

"The landing of C 130 Hercules at Daulat Beg Oldie today is a very significant achievement for the Indian Air Force and it has a relevance for the larger Indian military profile. DBO is located at about 16,000 feet in the Himalayas, it is a reflection of the professionalism of the Indian Air force that they have been able to operate and land a heavy transport aircraft like the Hercules which has a payload of almost 20 tonnes," he said.

"DBO has a very special association for us in terms of India's military history. If you see the topography of that place, it's mountainous, inhospitable and to be able to operate in those altitudes and that terrain is a big challenge. It also adds to the credibility of Indian air power at altitudes that till now we felt were not conducive," he added.

Commodore (Retd.) Bhaskar further said that this is also a reflection of the political will, but added that this landing was not to seek equivalence with China but an assurance that we have the ability to protect our security interests.

"The fact that we have been able to land this aircraft today, apart from the professional acumen of the air force, I would say it is also a reflection of India's political determination because for a long time there was this unstated feeling that we lack the political determination to establish and demonstrate India's military credibility viz China. We are not seeking equivalence with China in any sector but we just want to have an assurance that our own ability to protect our security interests, if the need arises, are in place," he said.

Meanwhile, former Wing Commander of Indian Air Force Praful Bakshi said that Daulat beg Oldie is strategically important as far as China is concerned, and added that India has woken up late to counter Chinese threats.

"Daulat Beg Oldie is an extremely important area as far as strategic importance is concerned, as far as the China border is concerned. Now, we know that China is posing a grave threat. We have to manage, we have to counter that threat. We have now woken up, extremely late. We are 30 years behind China in this game. Whatever may be, but we have woken up because of some reasons which are very clear," he said.

He also said that the Indian Government has shown the political will and it is giving a clear line of instructions to armed forces, air force, army in that sector and that is why the rules of engagement are getting very clear.

In a significant capability demonstration move by the Indian Air Force (IAF), a C 130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft landed at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), the highest airstrip in the world at 6: 54 a.m. today.

The Commanding Officer, Group Captain Tejbir Singh, and the crew of the "Veiled Vipers" along with a senior officer of Air Headquarters touched down on the DBO airstrip, which is located at 16614 feet (5065 meters) in the Aksai Chin area after taking off from their home base at Hindon.

Daulat Beg Oldie is an important Army forward area post which links the ancient Silk Route to China. This base was built during the Indo-China conflict in 1962 and came into prominence when Packet aircraft of the IAF operated from DBO between 1962 and 1965.

Considering the very limited load carrying capability of AN 32 and helicopters, a decision was taken by the IAF to land the C130J-30 aircraft which is capable of lifting up to 20 tonnes of load.

With this enhanced airlift capability, the IAF will now be in a better position to meet the requirements of our land forces who are heavily dependent on the air bridge for sustenance in these higher and inhospitable areas.

The tactical airlift aircraft of the special operations squadron the "Veiled Vipers" which is capable of undertaking quick deployment of forces in all weather conditions, including airdrops and landings on unprepared or semi prepared surfaces created history today by landing at this altitude and hostile terrain conditions.

This achievement qualifies for the world record for the highest landing by an aircraft of this class. Incidentally, this was the same aircraft and crew that operated at Dharasu during "Op Rahat" for the Uttarakhand flood relief.

Today's achievement will enable the forces to exploit the inherent advanced capabilities of the aircraft by increased capability to induct troops, improve communication network and also serve as a great morale booster for maintenance of troops positioned there.

It is also a projection of the fact that the IAF is capable of operating in such inhospitable terrain in support of the Indian Army. (ANI)

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