Sunday, September 4, 2011

INS Hansa Celebrates Golden Jubilee-- (Sep 5, 1961-2011)




INS Hansa, Indian Navy’s premier Air station and fighter training squadron INAS 551 celebrate their Golden Jubilee on 05 Sep 11 on completion of 50 years of distinguished service to the nation.

INS Hansa is abode of the Indian Navy's frontline Air Squadrons. These include INAS 300 ‘White Tigers’ with the Sea Harrier fighters, INAS 310 ‘Cobras’ with the Dornier-228, INAS 315 ‘Winged Stallions’ with the Long Range Maritime Patrol IL-38SD, INAS 339 ‘Falcons’ with the Airborne early warning Kamov-31 helicopter, INAS 551 ‘Phantoms’ with the HJT-16 Kirans, INAS 552 ‘Braves’ with the Sea Harrier trainers and ‘Black Panthers’, with the latest induction, the state of the art Air Dominance supersonic carrier based fighter MiG 29K.

The naval base saw its first operational deployment during 'Operation Vijay' in 1961 which resulted in the successful liberation of Goa. During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, the Sea Hawk and the Alize aircraft squadrons were entrusted with the Air-Defence of Bombay, Goa and Cochin. Its aircraft had also carried out an offensive sweep against Pakistani ships reported in the area.

During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the INAS 300 squadron ‘White Tigers’ from INS Hansa with 18 aircraft onboard INS Vikrant were put into action against the belligerent enemy. In a mere 10 days, extending from 04 Dec 1971 to 14 Dec 1971, the air strikes accounted for more than 100,776 tonnes of Pakistani shipping sunk. The destruction included important airfields, harbours and troop positions. During the conflict, INAS 300 did not suffer any loss and for its efforts it won one Maha Vir Chakra, five Vir Chakras, one Nao Sena Medal and four Mentions in Despatches.

During the 1999 Kargil war, INS Hansa’s operational squadrons had played an effective role in close coordination with the Army and the Air Force.

INS Hansa in addition to military flying proactively supports air traffic management operations of more than 11,000 international, national and civil chartered flights every year. This has helped to promote tourism and boosted the local economy. With the anticipated growth in the tourism sector, INS Hansa’s role towards the airport’s 24X7 operations throughout the year will definitely aid in Goa becoming one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

INS Hansa completes fifty glorious years in service of the nation on 05 Sep 2011. The naval base has grown into a multi faceted force, fully equipped to meet the challenges of protecting our maritime boundaries and assets. Further with the induction of MiG-29K, INS Hansa is poised to grow in tandem with the overall growth of the Indian Navy and is determined to provide the ‘decisive edge’.

INS Hansa in addition to military flying proactively supports air traffic management operations of more than 11,000 international, national and civil chartered flights every year. This has helped to promote tourism and boosted the local economy.

PHANTOMS’ as it is popularly known celebrates 50 years of distinguished service to the nation on 05 September, 2011. Its history goes back to the acquisition of Seahawk fighters for operation from the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. The Indian Navy felt the necessity for a separate jet training unit to help train the young fighter pilots. Towards this, the Indian Navy contracted for buying three Vampire FB52 fighters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and a single Vampire T.Mk.55 Trainer from the Indian Air Force (IAF). The runway length at INS Garuda at Kochi being short to operate the Vampires, the squadron had to be based at the IAF base in Sulur, near Coimbatore. In its early form, the squadron existed as the Naval Jet Flight (JTF) under the command of Lt Cdr BD Law. JTF was commissioned as a new squadron, ‘INAS 551’, under the command of Lt Cdr RS Grewal on 05 September, 1961.

A year later, Sea Hawks were also inducted into the squadron. The role of the squadron was to train pilots in tactical flying and air combat on the Vampire and Sea Hawks. Before the pilots left for operational flying, they were converted onto the Sea Hawks. The main responsibility of the squadron was to act as a feeder squadron for fighter pilots into Naval Aviation.

Following the liberation of Goa in December 1961, the Indian Navy started operating from the airfield at Dabolim, leading to the relocation of INAS 551 to Dabolim in June 1964. As a result of ageing of the Vampires and Sea Hawk, the Indian Navy decided to acquire the HAL HJT-16 ‘Kiran’ Mk.1 Basic Jet Trainer. Seven trainers were delivered to the squadron in mid-1971.

After the induction of the Sea Harrier fighter aircraft by the Indian Navy, the squadron was reorganized into two flights, namely, INAS 551A, operating the variants of the Kiran aircraft and INAS 551B, operating the Sea Harrier trainer aircraft. The latter was established as the first Sea Harrier Operational Flying Training Unit (SHOFTU) in April 1990.

INS Hansa, the cradle of naval aviation, has been rendering yeoman service to the Indian Armed Forces since its inception in 1961. The air station celebrates 50 years of glorious service on 05 Sep 11. This journey has been studded with perseverance, commitment, loyalty and selfless sacrifice of thousands of naval aviators. Looking back at the sands of time, the air station from an unpretentious beginning has transformed itself to a world-class facility.


INS Hansa is the largest air base of the Indian Navy operating seven different types of aircraft. The naval air station’s responsibility includes the air traffic management of a full-fledged airfield at Dabolim that handles domestic as well as international flights round the clock.

History of INS Hansa dates back a little over 50 years. In the early 1950s, the Navy inducted the piston engine Sealand amphibian ‘Firefly Target Tugs’ that was acquired from the United Kingdom and HT-2 trainers acquired from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Thereafter, in September 1958, Indian Navy received its first three Vampire fighter jets from M/s HAL and a Trainer aircraft from the Indian Air Force. This quartet formed the Naval Jet Flight (JTF) aptly supported by a naval detachment based at Sulur airfield near Coimbatore. The JTF played a vital role in training the core of jet pilots who were to later man Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant’s fighter squadrons. It was in acknowledgment of its growing importance that the naval detachment was

Following the liberation of Goa in 1961, it was decided that the airfield at Dabolim would make an ideal base for aircraft embarking INS Vikrant. On 18 Jun 1964, INS Hansa shifted from Sulur to Dabolim, its present home. From a humble beginning of operating two Sea Hawk aircraft squadrons, it started operating 06 French Alouette helicopters in March 1969. In 1972, a squadron of INS Vikrant’s Alize aircraft was shifted to INS Hansa. The process of acquisition from the erstwhile Soviet Union began in Oct 1977. In the same year the first squadron of Ilyushin-38 Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft was inducted at INS Hansa. This was followed by the Kamov 25 helicopters and Tupolev 142M long range MR aircraft from Russia. In 1977, the Indian Government approved the acquisition of Sea Harrier fighter jets from UK. On 16 Dec 1983, a solitary Sea Hawk aircraft escorted the first three Sea Harriers as they arrived over the naval air station at Dabolim. With the induction of the Sea Harrier, INS Hansa had ushered in a new era of technology into the Indian Navy.

The need to enhance India’s maritime superiority, in ASW was felt towards the late 80’s. This fructified in March 1993, wherein another bird was added to Hansa's growing aviary, the Kamov-28 Russian ASW helicopter. This was followed in 2004 by the Kamov-31, the only Airborne Early Warning (AEW) helicopter in the world. The latest induction in Feb 2010, the ‘state of the art’ carrier borne MiG-29K has made INS Hansa the first air station in the Indian Navy to operate a supersonic fighter aircraft.

INS Hansa has come a long way to assume an eminent position as one of the largest military air bases in the country. Her aircrew fly a wide variety of complex helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, many of which are amongst the most advanced in the world. In INS Hansa's maintenance facilities, some of the most sophisticated pieces of machinery and avionics are being ably maintained by her engineers and technicians. There can be little doubt that INS Hansa today is a major operational base and a vital player in the nation’s maritime defence.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Citizens, Please be aware that this naval base is sitting on comunity land illegaly occupied by the navy. this has been vindicated by the honarable supreme court of india.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-03/goa/29377037_1_state-landlordism-chief-secy-dabolim-airport

google for several more articles and also a statement by the then chief of navy.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 11:09 Surely National Security surely carries higher precedence. I am sure the State Government can allocate land elsewhere for the community. However, I believe the "so called community members" are GREEDY and want prime land next to airport that has higher rates due to the tourism industry centered around the international airport. Hence for purely selfish commercial reasons, the so called community members want airport land. Shame on such community members for putting their petty commercial interests over larger national interest

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:46
Please educate yourself as to what this "comunity" is, who are the members of this comunity & what the comunity charter defines as to what the comunity land can be used for.

the public sentiment in goa is infact the opposite of what you feel.
every goan knows how greedy the indian navy is.

Please also educate yourself on the happening at seabird naval base about 100 Kms further south & how the navy has blocked traditional access to the first church in asia on anjedeva island.

It took a catholic church priest's hunger strike on the road outsite seabird to restore access to the church.
after about 2 years the navy were back to their dirty tricks and access is now blocked.

these kind of events result in a very bad after-taste for the goans who are starting to detest the Indian Navy's greedy ways.