New Delhi: 3000 hours in the sky, more than 1600 flights, traveling about one million nautical miles in the country and abroad, 800 oxygen containers, 13500 metric tons of oxygen, the entire military transport aircraft fleet of the Indian Air Force got engaged in the mission of the Indian Air Force Oxygen. These figures are from the ‘Mission-Oxygen’ of the Indian Air Force, but they are not just figures. This is the mission in which the Indian Air Force was engaged for the last one and a half months.
During the Corona period, when there was an outcry over oxygen in the country, the Air Force took the lead like a troubleshooter. Whether country and abroad, Air Force planes played a decisive role day and night, not only in taking the countrymen out of the lack of oxygen, but also saved the lives of thousands of patients fighting Corona. After all, to know how the Air Force accomplished the mission-oxygen, the News team itself reached the Hindon Air Base adjacent to the capital Delhi.
When the News team reached Hindon Airbase, the largest military transport aircraft of the Air Force, the C-17 Globemaster was ready to take off. This aircraft was flying to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. From there, this plane has to leave for Bhubaneswar immediately after airlifting the empty container.
One of the world’s largest military aircraft, the Globemaster, has a full squadron stationed at Hindon Airbase, which is known as ‘Skylord’. For the last one and a half months, the C-17 Globemaster has been bringing cryogenic oxygen containers, oxygen cylinders and concentrators from the country and abroad, including other corona fighting medical equipment.
A second C-17 Globemaster is standing at Hinden airbase, which had just returned from Hamburg, Germany, with four large-capacity containers. The capacity of each of these containers is about 270 thousand liters. The special thing is that oxygen cylinders can be filled directly from these containers so that they can be sent to the patients in the hospital as soon as possible.
Group Captain Manish Kumar, a senior officer posted at the Air Headquarters at Hindon Airbase, has been deployed for coordinating and sending aircraft from the country and abroad. The Group Captain told that during the Corona epidemic, different Air Force aircraft have brought 160 oxygen containers from about 16 friendly countries so far. These countries include Germany, France, Belgium, England, Netherlands, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Australia. Apart from this, 650 containers have been sent from one part of the country to another.
Let us tell you that when the second wave of corona epidemic knocked in the month of April, there was oxygen production in the country, but there were no large capacity containers and tankers to carry oxygen from one state to another. In such a situation, the responsibility of bringing cryogenic containers from abroad was entrusted to the Air Force. Cargo aircraft like C-130J Super-Hercules, IL-76, AN-32 including Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster were deployed in this mission.
Group Captain Pranav Sisodia, Commanding Officer (CO), Skylord Squadron at Hindon Airbase, told that this was the first such mission of its own that the Indian Air Force was going to do. Till now, these Air Force aircraft used to airlift soldiers, tanks, cannons and military equipment to the battlefield. But oxygen containers, tanks, cylinders were airlifted for the first time.
Group Captain Sisodia said that the Air Force not only brought empty cryogenic containers from abroad, but also took them abroad. Because oxygen filled containers cannot be airlifted in aircraft due to safety reasons. Therefore, empty containers were taken abroad and then filled containers were brought to the country by naval warships.
According to the CO of C-17 Globemaster Squadron, the Air Force played an important role in moving empty containers from one place to another even within the country. Because while it takes two-three days to take the empty container from the truck to the plant, this work was completed in just two-three hours by plane. In such a situation, the Air Force has an important contribution in taking the oxygen supply to different states and hospitals of the country rapidly. Clearly, the Air Force, like Hanumanji, saved thousands of lives by delivering oxygen in the form of Sanjeevani Booti to the patients.
Technical Officer of the Air Force, Wing Commander N. Musle said that during the mission of Oxygen Containers, special care was taken that the pilots, engineers and other technical staff of the Air Force should also protect themselves from Corona. Because in the second wave, a large number of countrymen were coming under the grip of Corona. In such a situation, saving the countrymen from Corona by protecting themselves from Covid was a big challenge for the Air Force, but every airman is trained for such difficult situations.