Monday, September 06, 2021

Naval aviation gets President’s Colour. Here’s all you need to know of the honour

New Delhi: The 70-year-old Naval aviation, which started as a fledgling Fleet Requirement Unit with ten amphibian Sealand aircraft in 1953, is set to be awarded the President’s Colour, the highest honour bestowed on a military unit in recognition of its exceptional service to the nation.

Incidentally, the Indian Navy was the first amongst the three Services to be awarded the President’s Colour on 27 May 1951 by the then President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad.

While the Navy is often associated with the ships, the aviation wing has emerged as an integral part of the naval operations, both defensive and offensive in nature. 

“For supremacy or control of the Indian Ocean, naval aviation is very important,” former Navy chief Admiral Prakash (retd) told ThePrint.

The retired officer, who is one of the four Navy chiefs to come from the flying branch, a list that also includes current chief Admiral Karambir Singh, says that while post World War II, many countries could not afford naval aviation, India along with the major powers focussed on it.

“There is no doubt that the Navy is all about the ships. However, helicopters have merged as an integral part of a surface vessel in the last 30 years or so,” Admiral Prakash said. “The first defence of a surface ship is its on board helicopter. The helicopters these days are equipped with missiles, depth chargers and torpedoes which counter the threat.”

He further explained that while a ship can detect a submarine at a range of 3-4 miles, a submarine can detect a surface vessel from about 20-30 miles. However, a naval aviation aircraft can detect both from much further distances.

The former chief explained that air power is very important and hence an aircraft carrier is able to dominate 300-350 miles around it because it is equipped with fighter aircraft.

06/09/21 Print

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