The Indian Navy commissioned Indian Naval Air Squadron 316, the second squadron of P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft, which were also deployed during the peak of the India-China dispute in the Ladakh region in 2020.
Admiral R. Hari Kumar, the Navy head, was the chief guest during the ceremony, which took place at INS Hansa in Goa. He told the audience that India is the ‘Preferred Security Partner’ in the Indian Ocean region, which demonstrates the country’s ability to play a strategic role in the region, but that it needs to expand its operational reach.
The Indian Navy is an important part of this commitment, and the commissioning of INAS 316 signals another step forward in boosting maritime security and surveillance in the Indian Ocean region, he added.
“The commissioning of INAS 316, the Navy’s second P-8I Squadron, marks yet another significant step forward in our combat capacity.” The Squadron’s operational capabilities will greatly increase our ability to safeguard, preserve, and promote India’s maritime interests in today’s dynamic and complex security environment,” he said.
‘Condors,’ one of the largest flying land birds with a vast wingspan, have been given the name INAS 316. The squadron’s symbol features a condor scouting the great blue expanse of the sea.
The bird represents the aircraft’s capabilities and the squadron’s anticipated tasks, with its great sensory capabilities, powerful and sharp talons, and big gigantic wings. The Boeing P-8I, a multi-role Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare (LRMR ASW) aircraft that can be armed with a variety of air-to-ship missiles and torpedoes, will be operated by INAS 316.
The ‘game-changer’ aircraft is an effective platform for maritime surveillance and strikes, electronic warfare missions, search and rescue, providing targeting data to weapon platforms, providing time-critical surveillance information to the army and air force, and detecting and neutralising enemy ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region.
The squadron’s objective is to ‘deter, detect, and destroy’ any threat in the IOR, as well as to be the home for the four new P-8I aircraft bought under the option clause contract. Since December 30, 2021, these aircraft have been operating from INS Hansa, which is integrated with full-spectrum surface and subsurface naval operations.
Commander Amit Mohapatra, an outstanding P-8I pilot with vast operational experience, leads INAS 316. He has previously commanded INS Baratang and served as the Executive Officer of INS Tarkash. He has also flown maritime air platforms such as the IL-38 and Dornier 228.