INAS 330 "Harpoons"

INAS 330 was raised on 17 April 1971 and Commander M P Wadhawan was the commissioning squadron commander. The squadron was the first to operate the Sea King Mk.42 helicopter and does so to this day. The acquisition of the new French Daphne Class submarines by the Pakistan Navy increased the urgency of acquiring anti submarine helicopters. In 1968, a proposal was made for acquiring twelve Sea King Mk.42 helicopters. Sanction for the acquisition of six Sea King Mk.42 helicopters was accorded in 1969 and in 1970 an order was placed for their delivery in 1971. Concurrently an order was also placed for the acquisition of the MK.44 anti-submarine homing torpedoes. Between May 1971 and 1971, the Sea Kings were involved in-conversion flying, maintenance courses at NATS and in evaluation by the Naval Tactical School to find out the capabilities and limitations of the helicopter to facilitate the promulgation of preliminary tactical instructions. The preliminary evaluation was to prove misleading. The first group who had returned from UK had only done familiarization flying. At Indian insistence, the British Navy was giving the second group tactical flying experience but this group only arrived in India in October 1971 and were deployed in Bombay. Meanwhile, Naval HQ had based its assessment of Sea King utilization on the limited information that had been given to the first group and tasked the helicopters for anti submarine patrols off Bombay harbour. To cap it all, the Tactical School's Sea King dockets were given high security classification. Consequently, the people who mattered remained in ignorance of the helicopter's performance and potential. The defensive utilization of the Sea King helicopters in the 1971 War was the cumulative result of all these factors. Sea King availability was low during May, June and July 1971. In August of the same year, Naval HQ lifted the ban on lowering the dunking sonar and the sonar's evaluation commenced in earnest. Since the Mk.44 torpedoes were not yet available, flight trials were started for using depth charges. By August end, the Squadron started night flying. By October 1971, two Sea Kings were based at Bombay and by November, this had increased to four examples. The remaining two were based at Cochin.

In Remembrance:

Date Aircraft Number Crew
18 June 1983

Sea King Mk.42


Lieutenant Commander V K Ojha
Lieutenant V K Kapoor
EAAR V B Raghavan

17 January 1986

Sea King Mk.42


Lieutenant J Rajkhowa
Lieutenant A K Mehta
Lieutenant D P Mitra
25 May 1990

Sea King Mk.42A


Commander S K Chowdhary
Lieutenant Commander I K Sahu
Lieutenant K Deshpande
Lieutenant P Ganesan
LAD K Sain