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India commissions new maritime reconnaissance squadron

Personnel of the Indian Navy's newly commissioned 316 Squadron stand in front of a Boeing P-8I at INS Hansa in Goa on 29 March 2022. (Indian Navy)

The Indian Navy commissioned a new long-range maritime reconnaissance squadron to bolster security on the country's west coast.

Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 316, which was commissioned on 29 March, is equipped with the second batch of four Boeing P-8I Neptune aircraft acquired by India between mid-November 2021 and 19 February 2022. The squadron is deployed at INS Hansa in Goa, India.

In a statement, the Indian Navy said that INAS 316 will operate the P-8I in long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare duties. A naval source told Janes that the squadron's area of responsibility is the western seaboard.

“The squadron is being deployed as part of the overall strengthening of maritime security in the west as per the aircraft's capabilities. However, its responsibilities will vary to consider other roles such as humanitarian relief operations,” the source said.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Admiral R Hari Kumar, the chief of the Naval Staff, said that the commissioning of the squadron will enhance “maritime security and surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region”.

He added that India has the ability to play a strategic role in the region, and needs to expand its operational reach.

The Indian Navy said the P-8Is to be used by the squadron can be equipped with a range of air-to-ship missiles and torpedoes. The service added that the squadron has been specifically commissioned to ‘Deter, Detect, and Destroy' any threat in the Indian Ocean rim.

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