In a two-and-a-half hour midnight operation from war-torn Sudan, a C-130J aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) rescued 121 people from a small airstrip at Wadi Sayyidna, which is about 40 km North of Khartoum on the night of 27/28 April. The passengers, who were flown to Jeddah, included medical cases, including a pregnant lady, besides those who had no means to reach Port Sudan, the IAF said.
The airstrip in question had a degraded surface, with no navigational approach aids or fuel, and most critically or landing lights that are required to guide an aircraft landing at night, the IAF said in a statement.
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“Approaching the airstrip, the aircrew used their Electro-Optical/Infra Red sensors to ensure that the runway was free from any obstructions and no inimical forces were in the vicinity. Having made sure of the same, the aircrew carried out a tactical approach on Night Vision Goggles (NVG), on a practically dark night,” it stated. The convoy was led by the Indian Defence Attaché, who was in continuous touch with IAF authorities all along, till they reached the airstrip at Wadi Sayyidna.
Upon landing, the aircraft engines were kept running while eight IAF Garud Commandos secured the passengers and their luggage into the aircraft, the statement adding that as with the landing, the take off from the unlit runway was also carried out using NVGs.