Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Indian Navy’s Air Arm earns President’s Colour

The Indian Navy is a well-balanced and cohesive three-dimensional force. It is capable of operating above, on and under the surface of the oceans, thus, efficiently safeguarding our national interests.

Honouring the spirit of service before self, President of India, Ram Nath Kovind will award the President’s Colour to Indian Naval Aviation. The award will be presented at the ceremonial parade to be held at INS Hansa, Goa on 06 Sep 2021. During the occasion, a Special Day Cover will also be released by the Postal Department.

In the first place, let’s learn about President’s Colour.

The President’s Colour is the highest honour bestowed on a military unit in recognition of its exceptional service to the nation.

The Indian Navy was the first amongst the Indian Armed Forces to be awarded the President’s Colour on 27 May 1951. Some other recipients of the President’s Colour in the Navy encompass Southern Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command, Western Naval Command, Eastern Fleet, Western Fleet, Submarine Arm, INS Shivaji and the Indian Naval Academy.

Indian Naval Aviation

Indian Naval Aviation came into existence with the acquisition of the first Sealand aircraft on 13 Jan 1951. INS Garuda is the first Naval Air Station that was commissioned on 11 May 1953. Further, Naval aviation steadily expanded its inventory to become an integral part of a formidable Navy with the arrival of the armed Firefly aircraft in 1958.

The year 1959 saw the commissioning of Indian Naval Air Squadron 550 with 10 Sealand, 10 Firefly and 3 HT-2 aircraft. Ranging from the Alouette to the Advanced Light Helicopter, a variety of rotary-wing platforms have been added to Indian Naval Aviation.

Induction of INS Vikrant and INS Viraat

In 1957, the world witnessed the Carrier arm of Indian Naval Aviation coming of age with the induction of INS Vikrant, the first Aircraft Carrier. INS Vikrant with its aircraft played a crucial role in the liberation of Goa in 1961 and again in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, where its presence on the Eastern seaboard proved decisive.

Induction of INS Viraat along with legendary Sea Harriers strengthened carrier operations of the Navy, which transformed into a reckonable force with the arrival of MiG 29Ks on the mighty INS Vikramaditya. The Indian Navy’s Carrier capability received a significant fillip with sea trials of the indigenously built aircraft carrier.

Now, let’s have a look at the courageous operations conducted by Naval Aviation.

Indian Naval Aviation boasts of nine air stations and three naval air enclaves along the Indian coastline. It has transformed into a modern, technologically advanced and highly potent force with more than 250 aircraft comprising carrier-borne fighters, maritime reconnaissance aircraft, helicopters and remotely piloted aircraft.

Naval aviation has distinguished itself during operations such as Operation Cactus, Operation Jupiter, Operation Shield, Operation Vijay and Operation Parakram. It has also spearheaded HADR operations on behalf of the Indian Navy, providing relief to numerous IOR nations.

Women in Naval Aviation

Naval Aviation has been at the forefront in inducting women into the fighting arm of the Navy and making them work shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.

It is worth noting that Naval Aviators have been decorated with one Mahavir Chakra, six Vir Chakras, one Kirti Chakra, seven Shaurya Chakras, one YudhSeva Medal and a large number of Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry).

Award of President’s Colour is testimony to the high professional standards and stellar operations performance of Naval Aviation, which has distinguished itself in service to the nation.

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