The two super aircraft, India's prized defence assets, also played a critical role in ferrying NDRF and Army teams along with heavy equipment from various parts of the country to Tambaram Air Base and Arakkonam Naval Base, the two nodal points that played a critical role in overall rescue operations in the wake of torrential rains here.

"The propeller-driven C-130J is capable of landing on short runaway, even on 'kucha' terrain and that's why they prove so critical in such operations.

"But, before Chennai floods, they served in rescue operations during the Uttarakhand floods in 2013, where they landed at Dharasu. This big bird has also landed in Daulat Beg Oldie (Advanced Landing Ground) in Ladakh," a senior defence official told reporters.

Built by American aircraft maker Lockheed Martin, six C-130Js were purchased by India in 2008, and these are based at the Hindon Air Base, outside of Delhi. The one that flew from Palam to Tambaram on December 2 was from this base only.

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