The Indian Navy commissioned its sixth Dornier aircraft squadron in strategically located Porbandar town of Gujarat on Friday, giving a fillip to coastal security near the sea border with Pakistan.
The Indian Naval Air Squadron 314, called Raptors, which will operate with four newly-inducted, next generation Dornier aircraft, was commissioned by Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral M S Pawar.
"Commissioning of Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 314 marks yet another milestone in our efforts towards enhancing maritime security and our surveillance footprint in the North Arabian Sea," Pawar said, addressing a gathering on the occasion.
The squadron, owing to its strategic location, will act as the first responder in this crucial region, he said.
"It will be a privilege of the INAS 314 crew to fly these machines in this region and assiduously contribute towards security of the foremost frontier in our maritime context," he said.
"Dorniers have been our surveillance workhorse for over three decades and torch bearers of our indigenisation efforts," the Vice-Admiral said.
The squadron will operate the Dorniers, a multi-role SRMR (Short Range Maritime Reconnaissance) aircraft with twin turboprop engine manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd (HAL) Kanpur, a Navy release said.
Contributing towards indigenous development and self- reliance through 'Make in India', the Navy is procuring 12 new Dornier aircraft from HAL with state-of-the-art sensors and equipment, including glass cockpit, advanced surveillance radar, optical sensors and networking features, it said.
The squadron is the first to accept and operate four of these newly inducted technology advanced next generation Dornier aircraft.
The insignia of the INAS 314 is a raptor, or bird of prey, looking out into the vast expanse of the sea, its powerful and sharp talons and strong wings symbolising the capabilities of the aircraft and envisaged roles of the squadron.
The aircraft can be used for electronic warfare missions, maritime surveillance, search and rescue and to provide targeting data to the weapon platform.
INAS 314 is commanded by Captain Sandeep Rai, an accomplished and highly experienced Dornier Qualified Navigation Instructor with extensive operational experience, the release said.
This was the sixth Dornier aircraft squadron to be commissioned by the Indian Navy.
"It gives me great pleasure to witness transformation of the Gujarat Naval area in the last four years," Vice- Admiral Pawar said at the gathering.
He said the Indian Navy has continued to be in the forefront of humanitarian assistance in times of crisis in the Indian Ocean Region.
With commissioning of INAS 314, it will be well positioned to respond to any emergency, along with the Coast Guard, in this crucial region, he said.
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