C-17 Globemaster and C-130J Super Hercules: Heroic Machines in Chennai Floods
Due to the heavy flooding in Chennai, India, there was a great necessity for assistance in getting locals out of the affected areas. The C-17 Globemaster and the C-130J Super Hercules answered their cries of help.
These impressive names are the titles of India's two super aircraft, their prized defense assets. These aircraft have ferried nearly 1,500 people from Chennai to safety and also have carried NDRF and Army teams with their heavy equipment from across India to the Tambaram Air Base and Arakkonam Naval Base. These bases have been crucial locations in the rescue efforts.
The six C-130Js were purchased by India in 2008. Built American aircraft company Lockheed Martin, they are powered by propellers and are capable of landing on short runways, even on difficult terrain, which is why they're so useful in the missions. The C-17s can carry about 230-250 people onboard.
As Outlook writes, the use of the aircraft gave the crewmen a great sense of joy and pride. Junior Warrant Officer Chandran Mohanan, loadmaster, speaks about his time on the C-130J.
"It fills me with pride to be a crew member of this prestigious transport aircraft, and to be able to serve our country by rescuing people. I have seen Bihar floods. And I have been part of the rescue operations during Uttarakhand and J-K floods, onboard this aircraft, and sometimes it used to get emotionally overwhelming to see people crying, but it felt always great to see families getting united."
The aircraft have helped in the floods since they started. On December 3, according to The New Indian Express, about 300 people were saved from the floods and flown to safety. 120 of those people were sent to Delhi on a C-130J. Another 100 people were taken to Hyderabad on that same day by a C-17. Over the course of three days between December 3-5, the C-17s had rescued and brought 480 people to Delhi, Hyderabad, and Patna.
Combined with the effort of their helicopter operations, which include five Chetak/Cheetah helicopters, the military rescue teams have successfully rescued 4,000 people caught in the Chennai flooding said the Economic Times. The Army has also added nine rescue and relief teams to Arakkonam with a C-17 Globemaster to help with any extra emergencies.
Beyond the disaster ongoing at Chennai, these aircraft have helped elsewhere in the country and the region. The two aircraft also helped during the floods in Uttarakhand and Kashmir as well as the devastating Nepal earthquake earlier this year.