INAS 551

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INAS 551
INAS 551 insignia.jpg
INAS 551 Insignia
Active 5 September 1961 - present[1]
Country  India
Branch Indian Navy seal Indian Navy
Garrison/HQ INS Hansa, Goa[2]
Nickname(s) The Phantoms
Aircraft flown
Trainer HAL HJT-16 Kiran[3]

The INAS 551 is an Indian naval air squadron based at INS Hansa, Goa.[1]

History

In its early form the squadron existed as the Naval Jet Flight (NJF) at Sulur, which was set up in September 1957 and was equipped with four Vampire aircraft. The first Flight Commander was Lt Cdr BD Law. In June 1959 the Naval Jet Flt was reconstituted as INAS 550 A. The third Flt Cdr of the NJF, Lt Raj Anderson became the first Squadron Commander of INAS 550 A, redesignated and commissioned as INAS 551 on 5 September 1961. A year later Sea Hawks from INAS 300 were also inducted into the squadron. The role of the squadron was to train pilots towards tactical flying and air combat on the Vampire. Before the pilots left for INAS 300, they were converted on Sea Hawks. The squadron was, thus, a feeder squadron for fighter pilots into Naval Aviation. The squadron inducted Kiran MK I in 1970 and commenced fighter training on these aircraft. An advanced version of the Kiran, the Kiran MK II was inducted in 1986.

In 1990, the Sea Harrier Operational Flying Training Unit was set up and INAS 551 was bifurcated into two flights. INAS 551 A operated the Kirans and INAS 551 B operated the Sea Harriers, undertaking conversion onto the aircraft for pilots joining INAS 300. In May 2003, the squadron added another feather to its cap, when it set up a Naval Aerobatic Team – the Sagar Pawan operating Kiran Mk II jets. The Indian Navy, thus, became only the second Navy in the world after the US Navy to have an active fixed wing aerobatic team. The squadron conducts Naval Orientation Courses for pilots before they progress onto the Sea Harrier and the MiG 29 K aircraft. Pre Qualified Flying Instructor Course training is also conducted for Naval and Coast Guard pilots. The squadron continues to fulfill its role of training budding Naval Fighter pilots till date, and many an aviator has passed through its hallowed portals.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b "INAS 551 – The Phantoms". Indian Navy. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "INS Hansa turns 50, grand jubilee planned". The Hindu. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Indian Naval Air Squadrons". Indian Navy. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "KIRAN MK 1/1A/2 | Indian Navy". www.indiannavy.nic.in. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 


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