Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba embarked ships of the Indian Fleet (both Western and Eastern) to review the ongoing Annual Theatre level Readiness and Operational Exercise (Tropex) 2017 which is presently underway since January 24, 2017. The CNS was accompanied by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, and Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command.
The CNS witnessed a host of exercises, viz. gunnery shoots, surface-to-air missile engagements, BrahMos firing and operations of the combined fleet in a complex multi-threat environment including subsurface and air threats. The high-point of the exercise was Large Force Engagement (LFE) by the fleet units against threat simulated by air element from the Indian Air Force (IAF) comprising AWACS, Su-30s, Jaguars and Il-78 (AAR). These threats emanated from different directions and were neutralised by using Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile capabilities of MiG-29Ks, the integral air arm of the Indian Navy, operating from INS Vikramaditya in coordination with other fleet units. All these exercises validated the combat effectiveness of the Indian Navy platforms.
The CNS during his address to the fleet congratulated the men for keeping the fleet combat ready at all times and executing all assigned tasks in a most professional manner. CNS also mentioned that training during peacetime has to be at par with how we would fight during war and emphasised on taking bold decisions with due cognisance to risks involved and ensuring safety of men and material.
Tropex 2017 is a month-long exercise/war drill, encompassing all dimensions of maritime warfare and is witnessing participation of over 60 ships, 5 submarines and more than 70 naval aircraft. It also includes participation of a large number of assets from the IAF, such as Su-30 and Jaguar fighters, AWACS, C-130J Hercules and in-flight refuelling aircraft, infantry amphibious elements from the Indian Army and ships/aircraft from the Indian Coast Guard.
The area of operations for Tropex 2017 exercise spans across the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea and North Central Indian Ocean and serves as an opportunity to validate the Indian Navy’s concepts of operation.
As a part of the exercise, niche capabilities of the Marine Commandoes (MARCOs) and Army Special Forces, including airborne assault and combat free fall were undertaken from IAF’s C-130 aircraft. Naval forces, while enforcing sea and airspace control all around the affected islands, undertook beaching and heli-borne operations for landing of follow-on forces. The exercise culminated with restoration of sovereign control over the affected islands by the armed forces. During debrief of the exercise, CNS and COAS discussed various options to further enhance the effectiveness of the joint exercise.
Tropex 2017 assumes special significance in the backdrop of the current security scenario, being aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard. It will also strengthen interoperability and joint operations in a complex environment.