By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Dec 10:
A Passing Out Parade 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.
Nine officers of the Indian Navy were awarded the prestigious Wings by Rear Admiral Vikram Menon, Flag Officer Naval Aviation and Flag Officer Commanding Goa Naval Area.
Additionally, the Indian Navy has, for the first time, undertook 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 Indian Navy.
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 along. The officers who successfully completed Stage One Training will be retained in the Squadron for Stage Two training.
During the course, the trainee pilots are introduced to several nuances of helicopter flying. The pilots undergo a challenging syllabus which includes navigation, night flying, formation flying and Search and Rescue operations over 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 overall order of merit in 99th HCC was awarded to Lt Satishraj Pradhan.
The Helicopter Training School was originally setup at Kochi in Karala 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, Coast Guard as well as friendly foreign nations.
In the meanwhile, the 55th Submarine Day was commemorated on Thursday to mark the formation of Indian Navy’s submarine arm with commissioning of it’s 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 Submarine Cenotaph at “INS Virbhau”. Rear Admiral AY Sardesai, Flag Officer Submarines laid wreath to pay homage to submariners on “Eternal Patrol” who made supreme sacrifice in line of duty to the nation. Rear Admiral R Vijay Sekhar, Project Director 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- charges of associated units.