Farewell to the Sea Harrier and Induction of Mig-29K Aircraft in INAS 300
The illustrious and unique Sea Harriers of Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS 300) were given a befitting farewell in a function organised at INS Hansa, Goa. The function was attended by Admiral RK Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Western Naval Command, serving and retired Officers and Men of the Indian Navy and all personnel who have served in the INAS 300. Speaking on the occasion Admiral RK Dhowan lauded the stellar role played by the squadron in the defence of the country and acknowledged the professionalism of the pilots, the maintainers and all those personnel associated with flying and maintaining the aircraft in peak efficiency during their service. He said that the rich legacy would continue as the baton is being passed on to the proud young crew of the MiG 29K squadron who have been successful in seamlessly integrating the fighters with INS Vikramaditya in the shortest possible time.
The White Tigers or INAS 300 who stand for excellence, determination and aggressive spirit, heralded the era of carrier borne aviation into the Indian Navy. Almost six decades ago the squadron was commissioned at RNAS Brawdy with its distinctive ‘White Tiger’ logo and equipped with the Sea Hawk aircraft. After providing yeoman service for over two decades, the squadron was subsequently reincarnated with Sea Harriers in 1983. This premier carrier borne fighter squadron achieved iconic status in the Indian Navy with its distinguished service, receiving numerous gallantry awards which includes one Maha Vir Chakra, four Vir Chakras and one Nau Sena Medal.
After 33 years sterling service, the sea harriers were being de-inducted from the Navy and under took its last flight today. To continue the proud ‘White Tiger’ legacy, the squadron has been re-equipped with the new and more lethal MiG 29Ks. INAS 300 would thus be re-equipped with the new swing role air dominance fighter giving the squadron enhanced combat power and offensive capability. For the versatile White Tigers, this resurrection also marks a full cycle from commissioning ‘Tail Hooking Sea Hawks’ to the ‘Vectored Thrust’ Sea Harrier era; and now with the induction of the MiG-29k to this elite squadron, marks the return of the ‘Tail Hookers’.