INS Netaji Subhas, as part of the Swarnim Vijay Varsh 2021 Celebrations at Kolkata, conducted an Operational Demonstration on the Hooghly on 20th March 2021. This unique event displayed the maritime prowess of assets and personnel who sail the high seas as well as operate along the coast. Two Waterjet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC), four Navy Patrol Boats, one each SeaKing and Chetak Helicopters, a Marine Commando (MARCOS) team and a Coast Guard Air Cushion Vessel (CG ACV) participated in the ‘Op Demo’. The Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal Shri Jagdeep Dhankar graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
A High speed ‘Steampast’ by four armed Navy Patrol Boats opened the Op Demo on the Hooghly, followed by the CG ACV, which operating from Haldia, glided over surface of the Hooghly river displaying its unique manoeuvres. It was followed by WJFACs sailing down the river, executing precise navigational menoeuvers and anchoring mid-river. Formation flying by a SeaKing and Chetak helicopter took the demo to the Skies, after which the Chetak demonstrated ‘Search and Rescue’ of a simulated rescue of a drowning person from the river. Both helicopters thereafter, displayed their aerial prowess by performing ‘helibatics’ for the audience. The MARCOS displayed their skill in undertaking fast airborne insertion into occupied territory by slithering down from the SeaKing onto a Gemini Assault Watercraft and thereafter, carrying out a simulated clandestine beach assault, on completion of which, they were quickly ‘extracted’ by the SeaKing utilising a method known as STIE (Small Team Insertion and Extraction), wherein the Commandos latched onto a special rope underslung from the helicopter and were flown out handing onto it.
The final aerial act witnessed the Chetak displaying vertical replenishment and transferring a Memento from the river to the seating area which was presented by the FOCinC East to the Chief Guest. After a final high speed salute by the Naval Patrol Boats, the gathering was treated to some patriotic fervour by the Navy Band. The Op Demo concluded with the ‘Sunset Ceremony’, as part of which a ‘Report’ was made to the Chief Guest by a smart Woman Naval Officer. The Naval Ensign at Babu Ghat, and on the Naval ships anchored mid-river, was lowered and struck down. After the Ensign was lowered, the ships fired flares into the sky and illuminated their silhouettes. A stellar fireworks display over the Hooghly brought the curtain down on the ‘Samudri Virasat Pradarshan’.
This was the first time that such an event, involving Naval ships, patrol boats, aircraft and a CG hovercraft, was conducted on the Hooghly at Kolkata. The historic event generated a lot of public interest and provided an immediate connect with the multitude of people comprising of children, adults, schoolchildren and NCC cadets who thronged the riverbanks of the Hooghly to watch this unique spectacle in Kolkata.