The Indian Navy has commissioned the fifth Dornier aircraft squadron during a ceremony at Naval Air Enclave, Meenambakkam, in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 313 was commissioned by the chief of naval staff admiral Karambir Singh.
INAS 313 will operate the Dornier multi-role short-range maritime reconnaissance (SRMR) aircraft, helping enhance maritime surveillance and security.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Karambir Singh said: “Commissioning of INAS 313 marks yet another milestone in our efforts towards enhancing maritime security and safeguarding our nation’s maritime interests.”
Singh also stated that it is important for the country to boost its capabilities to constantly monitor the geo-political situation in the region and maintain surveillance over the Bay of Bengal, Palk Bay, and adjoining regions.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said: “The strategic position of the squadron will give the nation, dominance over the north-eastern part of the Indian Ocean, which also consists of trade routes.”
The new Dornier Squadron is set to operate from Chennai International Airport. This will bring the number of naval air bases in the state to three.
In January, the Indian Government cleared the establishment of three new naval air squadrons in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
The maritime surveillance version of the Dornier 228 aircraft is manufactured locally by state-owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under licence from Russia’s RUAG Aerospace.
In December 2016, a contract was awarded to HAL to deliver 12 Dornier aircraft fitted with advanced sensors and equipment.
The aircraft will feature a glass cockpit, advanced surveillance radar, electronic intelligence (ELINT), optical sensors and networking.
Alongside maritime surveillance, the Dornier aircraft will support search-and-rescue operations and provide targeting data to weapon platforms.