INAS 310 – The Cobras
INAS 310 was commissioned on 21 Mar 61 at Hyeres, St Raphel by the Indian Ambassador to France, His Excellency Nawab Ali Yawar Jung. Cdr MK Roy was the first Squadron Commander of the squadron. In Apr 61, the first deck landing was carried out on INS Vikrant, off Yeovilton, in Alize 203. In the same month the Cobras participated in their first tactical exercise with INS Betwa and INS Beas, which were sailing to India from the UK. The squadron embarked INS Vikrant on 18 Aug 61 to sail back to India via the Suez Canal. The squadron was initially based at INS Garuda, Kochi and saw operational action on 18-20 Dec 1961 and during Op Vijaya for the liberation of Goa. The squadron was subsequently shifted to INS Hansa, Goa in Apr 70.
The squadron was once again in the thick of action during the 71 Indo – Pak war. Alizes launched from INS Vikrant carried out strikes over East Pakistan. On the nights of 05 and 06 Dec 71, the Navy’s first ever night strike was carried out by Alizes on ships and installations off the, then, East Pakistan coast.
The squadron was an integral part of the Navy’s carrier borne operations through out the seventies and eighties and celebrated the 5000 deck landing mark in 1983. On 10 May 87, after twenty-six years of dedicated service, Alizes finally disembarked INS Vikrant for the last time. However, they remained effective and saw extensive flying during Op Cactus off Male and Op Pawan in Sri Lanka. Finally, the Alize were bid adieu at the last flypast for the Chief of Naval Staff on 12 Apr 91.
On 26 Aug 91, the squadron received its first Dornier 228 aircraft in Goa. IN 221 was ferried from HAL, Kanpur by Cdr Khankhoje. IN 221 was followed by four more Dorniers over the next one year. The squadron was re-christened as the ‘Information Warfare Squadron’ on 01 Oct 98 following the fitment of an ESM suite. The squadron has been the very hub of the Navy’s information warfare effort ever since, and has several operational firsts to its credit. The squadron continues to live up to its credo of being the ‘first in - last out’. And whenever and wherever there is an operational commitment - the Cobras are always there