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Navy Gets More Reconnaissance Power Over Arabian Sea With New Squadron

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The aircraft is powered by twin jet engines, and can be equipped with air-to-ship missiles and torpedoes

NEW DELHI: In a significant move to strengthen the reconnaissance capability of Indian Navy towards the western seaboard, a new Naval Reconnaissance Air Squadron has been raised under the Western Naval Command (WNC) headquartered in Mumbai.

The Navy on Monday said, “Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 316, Indian Navy’s second P-8I aircraft squadron, will be commissioned on March 29 at INS Hansa, Goa, in the presence of Naval chief Admiral R Hari Kumar.”

INAS 316 will operate Boeing P-8I, the sophisticated multi-role long range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare (LRMR ASW) aircraft. The aircraft is powered by twin jet engines, and can be equipped with air-to-ship missiles and torpedoes.

“INAS 316 will operate the second batch of four additional aircraft acquired, adding teeth to the armour of the Indian Navy, to deter, detect and destroy any threat to the nation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR),” Navy said.

INAS 316 has been christened ‘The Condors’, after one of the largest flying birds in the world. The raising of reconnaissance unit INAS 316 has taken place after 45 years. The Navy had in 2013 acquired the first batch of eight P-8I aircraft and they are stationed at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu as part of the INAS 312 ‘Albatross’.

INAS 312 was a functional unit operating the Tupolev-142 aircraft which got decommissioned in March 2017. The vast swathe of area of responsibility under the WNC stretches up to the Persian Gulf and the East Coast of Africa including the Arabian Sea.

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