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Friday, January 27, 2023

Naval Pilots Awarded “Wings” at INS Rajali

The Indian Navy undertook Stage One Training of helicopter pilots for the first time

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: A Passing Out Parade (POP) was held to mark the graduation of 99 Helicopter Conversion Course (HCC) at Naval Air Station – INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Chennai in Tamil Nadu on Friday.

Rear Admiral Vikram Menon, Flag Officer of Naval Aviation and Flag Officer Commanding Goa Naval Area, awarded nine officers of the Indian Navy the prestigious wings.

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Additionally, the Indian Navy has, for the first time, undertaken Stage One Training of helicopter pilots, which hitherto used to be carried out with the Indian Air Force.

The officers underwent rigorous flying and ground training for 22 weeks at the Indian Naval Air Squadron 561, INS Rajali, the alma mater of all helicopter pilots of the Indian Navy.

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The newly qualified pilots will be appointed to various units across the Indian Navy to carry out missions such as Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Casualty evacuation, Search and Rescue, and anti-piracy patrols.

The officers who completed Stage One Training will be retained in the Squadron for Stage Two training.

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During the course, the trainee pilots are introduced to several nuances of helicopter flying. The pilots undergo a challenging syllabus that includes navigation, night flying, formation flying, and Search and Rescue operations over the sea. At the end of the course, the trainees are awarded for their performance.

The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Rolling Trophy for the trainee pilot standing first in order of merit in Flying was awarded to Lt Satishraj Pradhan. The Sub Lieutenant Kunte Memorial Book Prize for standing first in order of merit in ground subjects was awarded to Lt Rupesh B Hingase.

The Governor of Kerala Rolling Trophy for standing first in the overall order of merit in the 99th HCC was awarded to Lt Satishraj Pradhan.

The Helicopter Training School was originally set up at Kochi in Kerala in 1971. In 1992, it was shifted to INS Rajali, Arakkonam, which is one of the largest military airfields of the country and is at present commanded by Commodore R Vinod Kumar.

The prestigious Helicopter Training School is commanded by Captain Pranay Kumar Pandey, who is a Qualified Flying Instructor. It has trained 795 pilots of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard as well as friendly foreign nations.

Meanwhile, the 55th Submarine Day was commemorated on Thursday to mark the formation of the Indian Navy’s submarine arm with the commissioning of its first submarine, erstwhile INS Kalvari, on December 08, 1967.

Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, Flag Officer, Commanding in Chief, Eastern Naval Command, conveyed his best wishes and appreciated the tenacity, professionalism, and dedication of submariners.

A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Submarine Cenotaph at “INS Virbhau”. Rear Admiral AY Sardesai, Flag Officer Submarines, laid the wreath to pay homage to submariners on “Eternal Patrol,” who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty to the nation. Rear Admiral R Vijay Sekhar, Project Director of Ship Building Centre, also paid homage.

The ceremony was attended by Commodore Commanding Submarines(East). Commanding Officer INS Satavahana, Commanding Officers of submarines, and Officers-in- charge of associated units.

Also Read: Indian Navy Joins the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland


  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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