List of Indian naval air squadrons

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Mikoyan MiG-29K in flight over Indian islands
Mikoyan MiG-29K in flight over Indian islands
Sea King aboard destroyer INS Mumbai
Sea King aboard destroyer INS Mumbai
Boeing P-8I in flight over mountains
Boeing P-8I in flight over mountains
Roundel and fin flash of Indian aircraft
Roundel of Indian aircraft
Fin flash of Indian aircraft

The Indian Navy currently operates twenty-one air squadrons. Of these, ten operate fixed-wing aircraft, eight are helicopter squadrons and the remaining three are equipped with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Building on the legacy inherited from the Royal Navy prior to Indian independence, the concept of naval aviation in India started with the establishment of Directorate of Naval Aviation at Naval Headquarters (NHQ) in early 1948. Later that year officers and sailors from the Indian Navy were sent to Britain for pilot training. In 1951, the Fleet Requirement Unit (FRU) was formed to meet the aviation requirements of the navy. On 1 January 1953, the charge of Cochin airfield was handed over to the navy from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. On 11 March, the FRU was commissioned at Cochin with ten newly acquired Sealand aircraft. The navy's first air station, INS Garuda, was commissioned two months later. From February 1955 to December 1958, ten Firefly aircraft were acquired. To meet the training requirements of the pilots, the indigenously developed HAL HT-2 trainer was inducted into the FRU. On 17 January 1959, the FRU was commissioned as Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 550, to be the first Indian naval air squadron.[1] In the following two years, three more naval air squadrons—INAS 300, INAS 310 and INAS 551—were commissioned. The first two operated from the newly purchased aircraft carrier INS Vikrant flying Sea Hawks and Alizés, whereas the latter one, equipped with Vampires, was used for training purposes.[2][3][4]

Between 1961–1971, three helicopter squadrons were commissioned—INAS 321, INAS 330 and INAS 561. The first two were equipped with HAL Chetak and Sea King 42Bs for search and rescue and anti-submarine roles respectively, whereas the later one assumed a training role.[5][6][7] In December 1971, the squadrons embarked on the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant saw action in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.[8] Between 1976–1977, INAS 312 and INAS 315 were commissioned with Super Constellation and Ilyushin Il-38s respectively.[9][10] In December 1980, another helicopter squadron intended for anti-submarine warfare—INAS 333—was commissioned. It was initially equipped with Ka-25s, and with Ka-28s in late 1980s. In 1984, one patrol and one helicopter squadron—INAS 318 and INAS 336—were commissioned. The patrol squadron was initially equipped with Islander aircraft, but they were replaced by Do 228s in 2000.[11][12] In November 1990, another Sea King squadron—INAS 339—was commissioned. Later in 1993, the Sea Kings were replaced by Ka-28s, and in 2003, Ka-31s were inducted, making it the only Indian naval air squadron for the role of airborne early warning and control.[13]

Though several new fixed wing aircraft and helicopters were inducted into the navy in the early 2000s, they were assigned to the existing squadrons with no new squadrons being commissioned until 2006. In January of that year, INAS 342, the first squadron to be equipped with UAVs, was commissioned.[14] Later that year, the Sea Harrier training assigned to INAS 551 were detached and commissioned separately as INAS 552.[15] However, the Sea Harriers were phased out in May 2016, and presently the operational status of the squadron is unknown.[16] On 24 March 2009, for the first time, two squadrons—INAS 311 and INAS 350—were commissioned on the same day. INAS 311 is intended for maritime patrol and operates Do-228s, whereas INAS 350, a multirole helicopter squadron, operates Sikorsky SH-3s.[17][18] In 2011–2012, another two UAV squadrons—INAS 343 and INAS 344—were commissioned.[19][20] In 2013, a fighter plane and a multirole helicopter squadron—INAS 303 and INAS 322—were commissioned with MiG-29Ks and HAL Dhruvs.[21] INAS 322 commissioned on 12 November 2013, equipped with the indigenously developed Dhruv helicopters, and is youngest Indian naval air squadron.[22]

List of Squadrons[edit]

* Indicates a helicopter squadron

Squadron name Insignia Nickname Aircraft operated Role Established Citations
Aircraft Period
INAS 300 INAS 300 insignia White Tigers Hawker Sea Hawk July 1960December 1983[23] Fighter 7 July 1960 [2]
BAE Sea Harrier December 1983May 2016[24]
Mikoyan MiG-29K May 2016 – present[16]
INAS 303 INAS 303 insignia Black Panthers Mikoyan MiG-29K May 2013 – present[25] Fighter 11 May 2013 [21]
INAS 310 INAS 310 insignia Cobras Breguet Alizé Br.1050 March 1961April 1991[26] Anti-submarine warfare 21 March 1961 [3]
Dornier Do 228 August 1961 – present[26]
INAS 311 INAS 311 insignia Kites Dornier Do 228 March 2009 – present[17] 24 March 2009 [17]
INAS 312 INAS 312 insignia Albatross Lockheed Super Constellation November 19761983[27] 18 November 1976 [9]
Tupolev TU-142M April 1988March 2017[27][28]
Boeing P-8I Poseidon[a] November 2016 – present[29][30]
INAS 315 INAS 315 insignia Winged Stallions Ilyushin Il-38 October 1977 – present[31][10] 1 October 1977 [10]
INAS 318 INAS 318 insignia Hawks Britten-Norman Islander March 1984May 2000[32][11] Maritime patrol 10 March 1984 [11]
Dornier Do 228 May 2000 – present[32]
INAS 321* INAS 321 insignia Angels Alouette III/
HAL Chetak[b]
March 1969 – present[34] Search and rescue 15 March 1969 [5]
INAS 322* INAS 322 insignia Guardians HAL Dhruv November 2013 – present[22] Multirole 12 November 2013 [35]
INAS 330* INAS 330 insignia Harpoons Sea King 42B April 1971 – present[36] Anti-submarine warfare 17 April 1971 [6]
INAS 333* INAS 333 insignia Eagles Kamov Ka-25 December 1980April 2009[37] Anti-submarine warfare 11 December 1980 [37]
Kamov Ka-28 1989 – present[37]
INAS 336* INAS 336 insignia Flaming Arrows Sea King 42B December 1984 – present[12] 20 December 1984 [36][12]
INAS 339* INAS 339 insignia Falcons Sea King 42B November 1990March 1993[13] Airborne early warning and control 23 November 1990 [13]
Kamov Ka-28 March 1993May 2009[13]
Kamov Ka-31 2003 – present[13]
INAS 342 INAS 342 insignia Flying Sentinels January 2006 – present[14] Reconnaissance 6 January 2006 [14]
INAS 343 INAS 343 insignia Frontier Formidables January 2011[19] Reconnaissance 17 January 2011 [19]
INAS 344 INAS 344 insignia Spirited Shadowers April 2012[20] Reconnaissance 11 April 2012 [20]
INAS 350* INAS 350 insignia Harpoons Sikorsky UH-3H March 2009 – present[18] Multirole 24 March 2009 [18]
INAS 550 INAS 550 insignia Flying Fish Short Sealand June 1959 – mid 1960s[38] Maritime patrol 15 June 1959 [39]
Fairey Firefly February 1954 – scrapped[c]
HAL HT-2[d] October 19561976[39]
Britten-Norman Islander 1976 – present[39]
HAL HPT-32 January 1976October 1987[39]
Dornier Do 228 1995 – present[41]
INAS 551 INAS 551 insignia Phantoms de Havilland Vampire September 19611965[42] Training 5 September 1961 [4]
Hawker Sea Hawk September 1962December 1983[4]
Kiran MK 1 19701986[4]
Kiran MK 2 1986 – present[4]
BAE Sea Harrier[e] 19902006[15]
Sagar Pawan HAL HJT-16 May 2003 – present[4] Aerobatics
INAS 552 INAS 552 insignia Braves BAE Sea Harrier July 20062016[24] Training 7 July 2006 [15]
INAS 561* INAS 561 insignia Rotors Hughes S-300 September 19711983[7] Training 15 September 1971 [7]
Alouette III/
HAL Chetak[b]
September 1971 – present[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Operated under a sub-squadron, INAS 312A.[29]
  2. ^ a b The French Alouette III light helicopters were produced in India under license by Hindustan Aircraft Limited (HAL) as "Chetaks".[33]
  3. ^ The Fairey Firefly aircraft in use by INAS 550 were scrapped, though it is unknown when this occurred.[40]
  4. ^ Trainer aircraft were operated under sub-squadrons INAS 550A and INAS 550B.[39]
  5. ^ Operated under a sub-squadron INAS 551B. Later rechristened as INAS 552.[15]
Citations
  1. ^ Hiranandani 2000, p. 262.
  2. ^ a b "History of Indian Naval Air Squadron 300". SP's MAI. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Indian Navy's INAS 310 celebrates 50 glorious years". Brahmand. Archived from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Kiran MK 1/1A/2 INAS 551". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Chetak/Allouette INAS 321". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Sea King 42B". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d "INAS 561 – Helicopter Training School". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  8. ^ Hiranandani 2000, pp. 135–139.
  9. ^ a b "Naval reconnaissance squadron celebrates silver jubilee". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "IL38 INAS 315". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  11. ^ a b c "Dornier INAS 3118". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "Seaking INAS 336". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Kamov 28 INAS 339". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  14. ^ a b c "UAV INAS 342". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d "INAS 552 – The Braves". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  16. ^ a b "De-induction of Sea Harrier and Induction of MiG 29K Fighter Aircraft". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  17. ^ a b c "Dorniers INAS 311". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  18. ^ a b c "INAS 350". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  19. ^ a b c "Indian Naval Air Squadron 343". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  20. ^ a b c "INAS 344 Commissioned" (PDF). Indian Navy. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  21. ^ a b "CNS Address: Commissioning Of INAS 303" (PDF). Indian Navy. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  22. ^ a b "The squadron, named Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 322, will help in advanced search and rescue (SAR) missions, heliborne operations, and armed patrol with night-vision devices". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  23. ^ Hiranandani 2000, p. 276.
  24. ^ a b "Indian Navy to bid adieu to Sea Harrier Fighters". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  25. ^ "Antony to commission MIG-29 K fighters into Navy". News18. 6 May 2013. Archived from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  26. ^ a b "Dorniers INAS 310". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  27. ^ a b "INAS 312 celebrates Silver Jubilee". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  28. ^ "Indian Navy to de-induct long-range patrol aircraft TU 142M after 29 years of service". The Economic Times. 26 March 2017. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  29. ^ a b "Navy's Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft Boeing P-8I Dedicated to the Nation". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  30. ^ "India Inducts First Squadron of Anti-submarine warfare Plane". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 9 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  31. ^ Hiranandani 2005, p. 103.
  32. ^ a b Hiranandani 2009, pp. 156–157.
  33. ^ Hiranandani 2009, p. 158.
  34. ^ Hiranandani 2000, p. 268.
  35. ^ "ALH (Dhruv) INAS 322". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  36. ^ a b Hiranandani 2009, p. 157.
  37. ^ a b c "Kamov 25 INAS 333". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  38. ^ Hiranandani 2009, p. xxv.
  39. ^ a b c d e "INAS 550 – The Flying Fish". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  40. ^ "Warbirds of India". Warbirds. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  41. ^ Hiranandani 2009, p. 156.
  42. ^ "Tank Busting In The Chamb". Bharat Rakshak. Archived from the original on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.

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