Sunday, Dec 01, 2002
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By G. Anand
The "target'' was INS Jamuna, a hydro graphic survey vessel carrying media persons and VIPs, including the Air Vice Marshall, R. D. Limaye of the Southern Air Command. The mock attack drill was being staged as part of the Navy Week celebrations.
The sleek missile frigate gained on the INS Jamuna through the port side and surged ahead. Soon it cut a wide swathe through the swirling blue waters and turned around to bear straight upon the survey vessel. As it knifed past INS Jamuna on the starboard side, INS Khanjar "bared its fangs.''
The doors of the missile bays below the bridge of INS Khanjar slid open for a moment to reveal deadly-looking Surface-to-Surface Korbet class missiles. The SSMs can "take out'' targets on sea as well as land, reporters were told. The INS Khanjar fired a green flare as if to make a point to INS Jamuna before closing its missile bays with a distinct thump that could heard over the hum of the diesel engines and the gentle sighs of the high sea.
Four Naval ships, led by the INS Jamuna commanded by Captain A. T. Lukose, participated in the exercise aimed at bringing the Indian Navy closer to the people. As many as 400 persons, including a large number of students, were taken on three of the Navy ships for a short sea trip. The guests were taken from the Vizhinjam harbour by Navy boats to the ships which were anchored nearly two km off the coast.
With all guests on board by 11 a.m., the INS Jamuna pulled up the gangway and weighed its anchor to make for the high-seas where the sea turns a startling ink blue in colour. Ten minutes into the cruise, the Chetak helicopter on board the survey vessel staged a sea-rescue mission.
The Off Shore Patrol Vessels, INS Sujata and INS Sharda, fell into perfect single line formation behind the INS Jamuna and the INS Khanjar. Soon, the INS Khanjar pulled aside the INS Jamuna on the port side to demonstrate the tricky Station Keeping by Distance Line exercise. A line was thrown from the INS Jamuna to the missile frigate. The line could be used for transferring supplies and even personnel between ships when in motion at sea. The 40 mm Close Range Anti-Aircraft Gun (CRAG) of Bofors make on board the INS Jamuna was fired in single mode with flares as target. The gun has 180 rounds per minute firing rate and an effective range of 11,000 yards. The demonstration came to a close at 3 p.m.
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