The aviation wing of the Indian Navy is getting the country’s highest military recognition. Indian Naval Aviation boasts nine air stations and three naval air enclaves along the Indian coastline and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The President’s Colour, the highest honour bestowed on a military unit (in recognition of its exceptional service to the nation), will be awarded to Indian Naval Aviation at INS Hansa, Goa, by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 6.
The Indian Navy was the first among the Indian armed forces to be awarded the President’s Colour on May 27, 1951, by Dr Rajendra Prasad, the then president of India. According to the ministry of defence, the subsequent recipients of the President’s Colour in the Navy include 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 has been in service for last seven decades. It came into existence on January 13, 1951, with acquisition of the first Sealand aircraft, and commissioning of INS Garuda, the first Naval Air Station, on May 11, 1953.
The arrival of the armed Firefly aircraft in 1958 added an offensive punch, and Naval Aviation steadily expanded its inventory to become an integral part of a formidable navy. First, Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 550 with 10 Sealand, 10 Firefly and three HT-2 aircraft was commissioned in 1959.