Kochi (Kerala), June 19 (ANI): Indian Navy's First Air Squadron, INAS 550 celebrates its Golden Jubilee of National Service by cutting a symbolic cake with a sword, which took place at the hanger based at INS Garuda in the Kochi Naval base.
Raised as a Fleet Requirement Unit (FRU), the Indian Naval Air Squadron 550 was commissioned on June 17, 1959 under the command of Lt PKK Menon at Kochi.
The Squadron the- 'The Cradle of Naval Aviation'- has been witness to the growth of the Naval aviation over the past five decades. Over the years, INAS 550 has the unique distinction of having operated over thirteen different types of aircraft.
The aircraft operated by the Squadron includes the Sealand, Firefly, HT-32, Dove, HJT-16 Kiran, different versions of Islanders and the Dornier 228. The Squadron has also for a time operated a Mi 4 helicopter.
The INAS 550 or "The Flying Fish" as they like to call themselves has since its inception, contributed immensely to nation building.
The Squadron has undertaken surveillance missions for the rocket firings from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in the sixties and seventies.
Among the various operations in which the Squadron has participated, notable is the Squadron's deployment in Sri Lanka post-Tsunami, 2004 where the squadron's aircraft was the first foreign aircraft to land with relief material. Another important contribution of the squadron has been providing casualty evacuation and distress relief.
Several veterans of the Squadron visited Kochi Naval base to participate in the celebrations. Vice Admiral Mihir K Roy (Retd), was the Chief Guest of the anniversary celebrations which was celebrated on June 17.
Vice Admiral SK Damle, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, who was also a part of the squadron in 1978-79, was also present at the functions held to mark the occasion. By Juhan Samuel(ANI)