The Indian Navy and the Royal Navy commenced the sea phase of the Konkan Shakti bilateral exercise in the Arabian Sea on 24 October.
All participating units deployed to sea after completing the harbor phase. Within the scope of the exercise, the units were divided into two opposing formations with the goal of obtaining “sea control” in order to deliver Army ground troops at a pre-determined location.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet headed one force that included the flagship INS Chennai, other Indian Navy warships, and HMS Richmond, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate.
Konkan Shakti drills included 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 – traversing through war-at-sea scenarios, and cannon shots on expendable air targets.
Strikes against the combined formation were carried out by Indian maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) Dornier, fighters of the Indian Navy (MiG 29Ks), Royal Navy (F35Bs), and Indian Air Force (SU30 and Jaguars), as well as a composite flypast over the formation.
Throughout the night, subsurface operations were conducted with an Indian Scorpene-class submarine and the Royal Navy’s underwater remote-controlled vehicle EMATT. P8I, an Indian MPA, also took part in the drill.
“The strong level of interoperability demonstrated on the opening day of the exercise demonstrates both navies’ high standards of professionalism and preparedness.” It also reflects a high level of mutual trust and understanding that has been built over many years,” said a Western Naval Command official based in Mumbai.
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