UK, India begin sea phase of Konkan Shakti military exercises

The sea phase of the maiden bilateral tri-service exercise 'Konkan Shakti 2021' between the UK and Indian Armed Forces commenced off the Konkan coast in the Arabian Sea.

According to an Indian Navy official, all participating units were split into two opposing forces to achieve 'sea control' to land Army ground-troops at a pre-designated site. One force was led by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet and comprised the flagship INS Chennai, other warships of the Indian Navy and HMS Richmond, the Royal Navy's Type 23 frigate. The other force operated under the UK Carrier Strike Group comprised aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, other UK and Netherland naval ships, and Indian warships.

The two forces integrated within their groups with exercises such as replenishment at sea approaches, air direction and strike operations by fighter aircraft (MiG 29Ks and F35Bs), cross control of helicopters (Sea King, Chetak and Wildcat), transiting through war-at-sea scenarios, and gun shoots on expendable air targets.

"The simulated induction of Army troops was also undertaken and followed by setting up a joint command operations centre. The two forces thereafter affected a rendezvous at sea with advanced air and sub-surface exercises," said the official.

It included strikes on the combined formation by Indian maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) Dornier, fighters of the Indian Navy (MiG 29Ks), Royal Navy (F35Bs) and Indian Air Force (SU-30 and Jaguars), as well as a composite flypast over the formation.

Sub-surface exercises with an Indian Scorpene-class submarine and underwater remote-controlled vehicle EMATT, operated by the Royal Navy, were undertaken overnight.


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