Sudan: IAF pilots use night vision goggles for rescue operation
In an absolutely daring rescue operation, pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) reportedly landed their aircraft on a small airstrip in war-hit Sudan to rescue 121 people on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. This feat is even more incredible as the pilots flew into absolute darkness and landed the plane on the airstrip without landing lights, using just night vision goggles.
Why does this story matter?
After an armed conflict erupted in Sudan, India launched "Operation Kaveri" earlier this week to try and bring back all the stranded Indians from the war-torn country. Over 427 individuals have lost their lives since the clashes between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudan's army, which started on April 15 over the nation's transition to civilian rule, erupted, said reports.
Details on IAF's daring feat to rescue people from Sudan
The IAF's C-130J aircraft managed to rescue 121 people from a small airstrip in Sudan's Wadi Sayyidna, approximately 40km north of violence-hit Khartoum. The passengers reportedly included a pregnant woman, among others, who couldn't reach Port Sudan—from where India is recsuing people. Headed by the Indian Defence Attaché, the convoy was in touch with IAF authorities until they arrived at the Wadi Sayyidna airstrip.
Know about landing conditions in Wadi Sayyidna
According to reports, the airstrip allegedly had a degraded runway with no navigational aid or fuel and, most significantly, no landing lights, which are needed to direct an aircraft landing at night. Despite facing all of these challenging conditions, the IAF pilots still managed to safely land the aircraft with the help of night vision goggles.
Here's what IAF said on the operation
"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," the IAF reportedly said. "Having made sure of the same, the aircrew carried out a tactical approach on Night Vision Goggles, on a practically dark night," it further added.
Visuals from Wadi Sayyidna airstrip
IAF pilots used night vision goggles during take-off too
After landing, eight IAF Garud commandos reportedly secured passengers and their luggage into the flight while the aircraft's engines were kept running. Similar to the landing, the take-off from the unlit runway was also conducted using night vision goggles. To recall, the IAF carried out similar operations to rescue Indians from Kabul after the Taliban took over the charge in Afghanistan in August 2021.
135 passengers rescued under Operation Kaveri on Friday
On Friday, another batch of 135 stranded Indians left the war-hit Sudan aboard a C-130J flight under Operation Kaveri. This marked the 12th batch of stranded Indians leaving for Saudi Arabia's Jeddah. Taking to Twitter, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "An IAF C-130J takes off from Port Sudan with 135 passengers for Jeddah."Share this timeline