In a daring nighttime operation, the Indian Air Force Thursday night successfully rescued 121 people from a small airfield in the violently unstable Sudan by flying onto an unprepared runway in the dark.
The C-130J aircraft’s pilots executed a night landing using Night Vision Goggles (NVG), as the airfield was in poor condition, lacked navigational approach aids, and lacked fuel and landing lights, all of which are necessary to lead an aircraft to land at night.
The aircrew used their Electro-Optical/Infra-Red sensors as they approached the airfield to check that the runway was clear of any obstacles and that no hostile forces were nearby.
The aircrew conducted a tactical approach on what was essentially a dark night after making sure the runway was clear. The aircraft’s engines were left running after landing. Eight IAF Garud Commandos from a special forces squad guarded the passengers and their luggage inside the plane.
NVGs were used for both the takeoff and the flawless landing on the blind airfield. The two-and-a-half-hour mission between Wadi Sayyidna and Jeddah, which is comparable to the one conducted in Kabul, is yet another example of the air force’s audacity in carrying out risky operations in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.