INAS 561, the only helicopter training school of the Indian Navy, completes 50 years

CHENNAI: Indian Naval Air Squadron (INS) 561 also known as Helicopter Training School (HTS) celebrated its golden jubilee at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. Rear Admiral Filippos G Pyunumootil, Flag Officer Naval Aviation was the chief guest of the event, which was also attended by several serving and retired alumni of HTS. INAS 561 is the Navy’s first and only helicopter training squadron and is therefore the alma mater of all Navy helicopter pilots.

Till 1971, Indian NavyThe US air arm was primarily limited to carrier borne aviation – originally slingshot launched aircraft and Search and Rescue (SAR) flight. A need was felt for a completely naval oriented approach to helicopter flying, which included carrier-borne operations at sea, survey operations and SAR operations. It finally took shape with the establishment of Naval Helicopter Training School as INAS 561 at INS Garuda, Cochin on 15 September 1971.

The squadron was later re-established at its present location at INS Rajali, Arakkonam in June 1992. The year 2021 marks the golden jubilee of the squadron, and also 60 years of the induction of Chetak helicopters into the Naval Air Wing.

A motorcycle expedition from INS Garuda, Kochi to INS Rajali, Arakkonam, issue of commemorative postage stamps, inauguration of Chetak Helicopter Static Display, flypasts by various helicopters of the Indian Navy, was carried out at INS Rajali to mark the ceremony.

During the ceremony, the Admiral released a digital publication and a motivational video showing the activities and operations conducted by the Squadron. These are meant to serve as a memoir depicting the evolution of the squadron and as a tribute to the efforts of all the men who have been a part of this glorious journey. Apart from imparting valuable training to budding helicopter pilots, HTS has also undertaken several life saving missions.

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