Indian Naval Air Squadron 343
UAVs were first inducted in the Indian Navy in end-2002 and since then they have proved time and again that they are a Force Multipliers par excellence. After the initial years of induction and training of crew, UAVs were pressed into active service as early as 2004. INAS 343 is the second UAV squadron to be commissioned in the Indian Navy. The unit was commissioned on 17 Jan 11 by her Excellency, Dr Smt Kamla, the then Governor of Gujarat. The unit holds the distinction of being the first Naval Air Squadron to be commissioned without the support of an Air Station. The unit is also the first Naval Air Squadron to be established in the state of Gujarat.
The primary role of the unit is to carry out search and surveillance in and around Gujarat. However, UAVs can be tasked with a multitude to objectives. The various tasks which an UAV can carry out are: -
- Maritime surveillance.
- Fleet Support
- Build up naval tactical picture
- Targeting data (OTHT)
- Battle damage assessment
- Real time intelligence gathering
- In SAR
- In Disaster management
The unit has completed 18 months since commissioning and has been at the forefront of Naval Air operations in Gujarat. The unit has met all operational tasking given to it whether during exercises or otherwise. Training for Ab-initio Internal Pilots as well as six Observers has also been conducted by the unit.