Indian Navy Commissions New Naval Air Squadron
The Maritime Reconnaissance capability of the Eastern Naval Command got a fillip with the commissioning of a new Naval Air Squadrons at INS Parundu, the Naval Air Station at Ramnathapuram in Tamil Nadu.
The Naval Air Squadron INAS 344 was commissioned on 11 Apr 12, by Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, AVSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command at a colourful ceremony at INS Parundu. Senior dignitaries from the State Government, Police, Coast Guard and Indian Navy attended the commissioning ceremony that marks an important event in the history of Naval Aviation.
NAS 344, commanded by Commander Vinit Anand and known as the Spirited Shadowers is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Squadron. It is third of its kind in the Indian Navy and first on the Eastern coast of India. The Squadron will be operating the Heron and the Searcher MK II vehicles. These aircraft with long endurance and stealth capabilities are ideally suited for search and detection. The commissioning of the UAV Squadron will provide value addition to the surveillance capability of the Eastern Naval Command and augment the efforts at enhancing coastal security along the East Coast.
Speaking on the occasion, Admiral Chopra said that the Air Station that has been undertaking operational tasking of immense importance to the nation and the Navy can now boast of a vastly enhanced surveillance capability in the region, following the induction of the UAVs. The Commander-in-Chief complimented the officers and men of INAS 344 and Parundu on their efforts towards successful commissioning of the new Squadron, which also included the Administrative building, maintenance facility and accommodation. He expressed confidence that the Squadron would operate the UAVs in the same spirit as the Osprey eagle, a ferocious hunting bird, as depicted on their crest.
The Squadron will be based at INS Parundu, under the operational control of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. INS Parundu, commissioned on 26 Mar 09, is presently commanded by Captain VB Bellary. The station, which had first started as a small Naval Air Detachment in 1985, operates Chetak and Dornier aircraft today that provide round-the-clock patrolling and air surveillance in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar regions. The commissioning of UAV squadron will boost naval operations in the region while marking an important milestone in the history of Naval Aviation as well.
Naval Today Staff , April 13, 2012; Image: navy