In a daring operation carried out on the night of 27/28 Apr 2023, a C-130J aircraft of the IAF rescued 121 personnel from a small airstrip at Wadi Sayyidna, which is about 40 km North of Khartoum. The passengers included medical cases, including a pregnant lady; besides those who had no means to reach Port Sudan.
This convoy was led by the Indian Defence Attaché, who was in continuous touch with IAF authorities all along, till they reached the airstrip at Wadi Sayyidna. The airstrip in question had a degraded surface, with no navigational approach aids or fuel, and most critically or landing lights (that are required to guide an aircraft landing at night).
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. Having made sure of the same, the aircrew carried out a tactical approach on Night Vision Goggles, on a practically dark night.
Upon landing, the aircraft engines were kept running while eight IAF Garud Commandos secured the passengers and their luggage into the aircraft. As with the landing, the take off from the unlit runway was also carried out using NVGs.
This approximately two and a half hour operation between Wadi Sayyidna and Jeddah will go down in the annals of IAF history for its sheer audacity and flawless execution – akin to that carried out in Kabul.