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Forces conduct joint training for air, water combat


Forces Conduct Joint Training For Air, Water Combat

Elite forces of the Indian Army and Air Force, in a unique joint exercise, saw a training session for 120 paratroopers that would ready them for both air and waterborne combat. The training session occurred at Matatila dam reservoir, Lalitpur, about 300 km from Agra. The paratroopers had equipment that weighed about 45 kg strapped to them, including the Israel-made Tavor assault rifle, an oxygen cylinder, shotgun, helmet, ammunition, a radio set, binoculars, medical kit, food, water and parachute. The troopers jumped from a height of about 30,000 feet and fell at about 120 miles per hour, touching down on a water surface at 15 miles per hour. The exercise was a day-night affair, lasting three days September 15, 16 and 22.

Chief para instructor at the Para training school, Kheria Air Force Base, Wing Commander Salim Baig, told TOI, 120 highly motivated paratroopers were selected through a stringent procedure from the Army and Air Force. They were given special training for a month before the joint exercise. This is the first time that the Army and Air Force has come together for a waterborne combat exercise. Wg Cdr Baig, who has more than 2,000 jumps to his credit, said, The idea was to make soldiers strong enough on all parameters mental, physical and tactical. One can imagine the toughness of the programme a 45-kg load was strapped on, and the trooper carried a live weapon while jumping from several thousand feet into water, then swimming ashore in a set time. This is not for everyone.

Kheria, Asia s largest Air Force Base, is also home to the sole training school for para-jumping for soldiers in India. It conducts more than 41,000 jumps a year, training 13,000 troopers annually. However, only the best 200 are selected for airborne combat and free-fall training, from among the elite Parachute regiment.

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