Navy’s Marcos get ‘duck drops’

Feb 06, 2013 - B.R. Srikanth 
If Ajmal Kasab’s cousins come calling again or pirates strike over choppy seas, India’s marine commandos (Marcos) will take just over an hour to launch a counter-offensive. Leading the charge will be two Marcos squadrons, deployed in Mumbai and Port Blair, equipped with “duck drop” systems fitted on Ilyushin-76 aircraft.
This is a “force-multiplier”, said a scientist from the Aerial Delivery Rese-arch and Develop-ment Establishment, the Agra-based outfit that designed the system. Once paradro-pped from aircraft, it all-ows marines to assemble inflatable motorised boats in 10 minutes and race towards ships in distress.
“Once commandos are near the target, they can dismantle the boats and travel underwater to mount a surprise attack. The marines can be deployed in an hour, unlike earlier when it took up to 48 hours to reach targets as they had to travel on ships. Each system (two boats) can take 32 commandos, weapons and fuel,” the scientist told this newspaper.
The scientist said the “duck drop” system was inducted recently by the Navy after several trials in the Indian Ocean. “It took us two years to develop the system; it’s a cost-effective way to rush commandos for rescue operations. It costs less than a tenth of a similar system that US marines use onboard C-130J Super Hercules. It is also impossible to acquire these as the US has banned their sale,” he added.
The “duck drop” system will be on display for the first time at Aero India 2013.