The second day of the sea phase of the Indo-French Naval exercise “Varuna” on Thursday saw increased participation of fighter aircraft, helicopters and coordination exercises between ships of both the navies.
The day commenced with submarine exercise with dedicated ‘maritime reconnaissance phase’ and ‘ship phase’ detecting the submerged submarine. Air defence exercise between the task group of Delhi and Paris progressed with a larger number of fighters participating from both sides.
To enhance the complexity of air defence, controls of the fighters were handed over to the destroyers of each group by the respective aircraft carriers. ADEX for the day terminated with the MiGs of INS Vikramaditya guiding the Rafale fighter jets from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in a planned firing exercise on Pigeon Island.
While the airborne units were engaged in combat, the fleet support ships of both the groups undertook token fueling during underway replenishment to evaluate the nuances of both the navies in a coordinated support role.
The day ended with a combined coordinated gunnery firing exercise on the Banshee, an air-launched target, wherein the ships of both groups joined together to exhibit the might of their weaponry.
The first phase of the Indo-French joint exercise began off Goa’s coast on May 1 and is scheduled to culminate on May 10. The second phase, on the other hand, is slated to be held in May-end near Djibouti.
‘Varuna’ is the largest ever joint exercise undertaken by the two navies yet, and represents the climax of the strengthened maritime co-operation between India and France.