Founded: 5 September, 1612
Navy: Naval Warfare, Force Projection,
Sealift, Defense Deterrence
Size: 67,252 active personnel
55,000 reserve personnel
295 ships (excl. auxiliaries)
Approx. 246 aircraft
Part of: Indian Armed Forces
Headquarters: Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defense (Navy)
Motto's: शं नो वरुणः (Sanskrit)
Shaṁ No Varunaḥ(IAST)
(English: May the Lord of Water be auspicious unto us)
Recruitment: "Indian Navy – An Ocean of Opportunities"
Colors: Navy Blue & White
March: Jai Bharati (Victory to India)
Anniversaries: Navy Day: 4 December
1 amphibious transport dock
8 landing ship tanks
1 mine countermeasure vessel
2 nuclear submarines
15 diesel submarines
129 patrol vessels
4 replenishment oilers
other auxiliary vessels
Second Opium War
World War I
World War II
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Operation Lal Dora
To Be Announced
Helicopter:HAL Dhruv, Kamov Ka-28, Kamov Ka-31,
Sea King Mk.42C, UH-3 Sea King, HAL Chetak, MH-60 Romeo Helicopter
Utility Helicopter:HAL Dhruv
Patrol:Boeing P-8 Poseidon,
Ilyushin Il-38, Dornier Do 228
ReconnaissanceIAI Heron, IAI Searcher Mk II
Trainer: BAE Hawk, HAL HJT-16, Pipistrel Virus
The Indian Navy (Hindi: Bhāratīya Nau Sēnā) is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces. The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star admiral, commands the navy.
The Indian Navy traces its origins back to the East India Company's Marine which was founded in 1612 to protect British merchant shipping in the region. In 1793, the British East India Company established its rule over eastern part of the Indian subcontinent i.e. Bengal, but it was not until 1830 that the colonial navy was titled as His Majesty's Indian Navy. When India became a republic in 1950, the Royal Indian Navy as it had been named since 1934 was renamed to Indian Navy.
The primary objective of the navy is to safeguard the nation's maritime borders, and in conjunction with other Armed Forces of the union, act to deter or defeat any threats or aggression against the territory, people or maritime interests of India, both in war and peace. Through joint exercises, goodwill visits and humanitarian missions, including disaster relief, Indian Navy promotes bilateral relations between nations.
Early Maritime History
The maritime history of India dates back to 6,000 years with the birth of art of the navigation and navigating during the Indus Valley Civilization. A Kutch mariner's log book from 19th century recorded that the first tidal dock India has been built at Lothal around 2300 BC during the Indus Valley Civilization, near the present day harbour of Mangrol on the Gujarat coast. The Rig Veda, credits Varuna, the Hindu god of water and the celestial ocean, with knowledge of the ocean routes and describes the use of ships having hundred oars in the naval expeditions by Indians. There are also references to the side wings of a ship called Plava, which stabilizes the vessel during storms. Plava is considered to be the precursor of modern-day stabilizers. The first use of mariner's compass, called as Matsya Yantra, was recorded in 4 and 5 AD.
Alexander the Great during his conquest over India, built a harbour at Patala. His army retreated to Mesopotamia on the ships built at Sindh. In the later of his conquest, records show that the Emperor of Maurya Empire, Chandragupta Maurya, as a part of war office, established an Admiralty Division under the Superintendent of Ships. Many historians from ancient India recorded the Indian trade relations with many countries, and even with countries as far as Java and Sumatra. There were also references to the trade routes of countries in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. India also had trade relations with the Greeks and the Romans. At one instance Roman historian Gaius Plinius Secundus mentioned of Indian traders carrying away large masses of gold and silver from Rome, in payment for skins, precious stones, clothes, indigo, sandalwood, herbs, perfumes, and spices.
During 5–10 AD, the Kalinga and the Vijayanagara Empires conquered Western Java, Sumatra and Malaya. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands served as an important halt point for trade ships en route to these nations and as well as China. During 844–848 AD the daily revenue from these nations was expected to be around 200 maunds (8 tonnes (7.9 long tons; 8.8 short tons)) of gold. During 984–1042 AD, under the reign of Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I and Kulothunga Chola I, the naval expedition by Chola dynasty captured lands of Burma, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, and Malaya, and simultaneously repressing pirate activities by Sumatran warlords.
During 14th and 15th centuries, Indian shipbuilding skills and their maritime ability was sophisticated enough to produce ships with a capacity to carry over hundred men. Ships also had compartments included in their design, so that even if one compartment was damaged, the ship would remain afloat. These features of were developed by Indians even before Europeans were aware of the idea.
However, by the end of thirteenth century Indian naval power had started to decline, and had reached its low by the time the Portuguese entered India. Soon after they set foot in India, the Portuguese started to hunt down all Asian vessels not permitting their trade. Amidst this, in 1529, a naval war at Bombay Harbour resulted in the surrender of Thane, Karanja, and Bandora. By 1534, the Portuguese took complete control over the Bombay Harbour. The Zamorin of Calicut challenged the Portuguese trade when Vasco da Gama refused to pay the customs levy as per the trade agreement. This resulted in two major naval wars, the first one—Battle of Cochin, was fought in 1504, and the second engagement happened four years later off Diu. Both these wars, exposed the weakness of Indian maritime power and simultaneously helped the Portuguese to gain mastery over the Indian waters.
In the later seventeenth century Indian naval power observed remarkable revival. The alliance of the Moghuls and the Sidis of Janjira was marked as a major power on the west coast. On the southern front, the 1st Sovereign of the Maratha Empire, Shivaji Bhosale, started creating his own fleet. His fleet was commanded by notable admirals like Sidhoji Gujar and Kanhoji Angre. The Maratha Navy under the leadership of Angre kept the English, Dutch and Portuguese away from the Konkan coast. However, the Marathas witnessed remarkable decline in their naval capabilities following the death of Angre in 1729.
A depiction of a Maratha
naval attack in 1812
against the East India Company's
1612 Origins of Independence
The origins of the Indian Navy date to 1612, when an English vessel under the command of Captain Best encountered the Portuguese. Although the Portuguese were defeated, this incident along with the trouble caused by the pirates to the merchant vessels, forced the British to maintain fleet near Surat, Gujarat. The British Honourable East India Company (HEIC) formed a naval arm, and the first squadron of fighting ships reached the Gujarat coast on 5 September 1612. Their objective was to protect British merchant shipping off the Gulf of Cambay and up the Narmada and Tapti rivers. As the HEIC continued to expand its rule and influence over different parts of India, the responsibility of Company's Marine increased too.
Over time, the British predominantly operated from Bombay, and in 1686, the HEIC's naval arm was renamed the Bombay Marine. At times the Bombay Marine engaged Dutch, French, Maratha, and Sidi vessels. Much later, it was also involved in the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824. In 1834, the Bombay Marine became Her Majesty's Indian Navy. The Navy saw action in the First Opium War of 1840 and in the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852. Due to some unrecorded reasons, the Navy's name reverted to the Bombay Marine from 1863 to 1877, after which it was named Her Majesty's Indian Marine. At that time, the Marine operated in two divisions—the Eastern Division at Calcutta under the Superintendent of Bay of Bengal, and the Western Division at Bombay Superintendent of Arabian Sea. In 1892 the Marine was rechristened the Royal Indian Marine, and by the end of the 19th century it operated over fifty ships. The Marine participated in World War I with a fleet of patrol vessels, troop carriers, and minesweepers. In 1928, D. N. Mukherji was the first Indian to be granted a commission, in the rank of an Engineer Sub-lieutenant. Also in 1928, the RIM was accorded combatant status, which entitled it to be considered a true fighting force and to fly the White Ensign of the Royal Navy. In 1934, the Marine was upgraded to a full naval force, thus becoming the Royal Indian Navy (RIN), and was presented the King's colours in recognition of its services to the British Crown.
HMIS Bombay of Royal Indian Navy in Sydney
Harbour during World War II
During the early stages of World War II, the tiny Royal Indian Navy consisted of five sloops, one survey vessel, one depot ship, one patrol vessel and numerous assorted small craft; personnel strength was at only 114 officers and 1,732 sailors. The onset of war led to an expansion in numbers of vessels and personnel. By June 1940, the navy had doubled its number in terms of both personnel and material, and expanded nearly six times of its pre-war strength by 1942. The navy was actively involved in operations during the war around the world and was heavily involved in operations around the Indian Ocean, including convoy escorts, mine-sweeping and supply, as well as supporting amphibious assaults.
When hostilities ceased in August 1945, the Royal Indian Navy had expanded to a personnel strength of over 25,000 officers and sailors. Its fleet comprised seven sloops, four frigates, four corvettes, fourteen minesweepers, sixteen trawlers, two depot ships, thirty auxiliary vessels, one hundred and fifty landing craft, two hundred harbour craft and several offensive and defensive motor launches. During World War II the Navy suffered two hundred and seventy five casualties—twenty seven officers, two warrant officers and 123 ratings killed in action, two ratings missing in action and a further 14 officers, two warrant officers and 123 ratings wounded. For their role in the war, the officers and ratings of the Navy received the following honours and decorations—a KBE (Mil.), a knighthood, a CB (Mil.), 10 CIEs, two DSOs, a CBE, 15 DSCs, an OBE, 28 DSMs, eight OBIs, two IOMs, 16 BEMs, 10 Indian Defence Service Medals, a Royal Humane Society Medal, 105 mentions in dispatches and 118 assorted commendations. Immediately after the war, the navy underwent a rapid, large-scale demobilisation of vessels and personnel.
From the inception of India's naval force, some senior Indian politicians had voiced concerns about the degree of "Indianisation" of the Navy and its subordination to the Royal Navy in all important aspects. On the eve of WWII, the RIN had no Indian senior line officers and only a single Indian senior engineer officer. Even by the war's end, the Navy remained a predominantly British-officered service; in 1945, no Indian officer held a rank above engineer commander and only a few Indian officers in the executive branch held substantive senior line officer rank. This situation, coupled with inadequate levels of training and discipline, poor communication between officers and ratings, instances of racial discrimination and the ongoing trials of ex-Indian National Army personnel ignited the Royal Indian Navy mutiny by Indian ratings in 1946. A total of 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20,000 sailors were involved in the strike, which spread over much of India. After the strike began, the sailors received encouragement and support from the Communist Party in India; unrest spread from the naval ships, and led to student and worker hartals in Bombay. The strike ultimately failed as the sailors did not receive substantial support from either the Indian Army or from political leaders in Congress or the Muslim League. On 21 July 1947, H.M.S. Choudhry and Bhaskar Sadashiv Soman, both of whom would eventually command the Pakistani and Indian Navies, respectively, became the first Indian RIN officers to attain the acting rank of captain.
INS Kursura, an Indian submarine which played
a vital role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war
Aircraft carrier INS Vikrant during the
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
The ship played a crucial role in enforcing
the naval blockade on East Pakistan
and ensuring India's victory during the war.
Independence to the end of the 20th Century
Following independence and the partition of India on 15 August 1947, the RIN's depleted fleet of ships and remaining personnel were divided between the newly independent Dominion of India and Dominion of Pakistan. 21 percent of the Navy's officer cadre and 47 percent of its sailors opted to join the portion of the fleet which became the Royal Pakistan Navy. Effective from the same date, all British officers were compulsorily retired from the Navy and its reserve components, with Indian officers being promoted to replace British senior officers. However, a number of British flag and senior officers were invited to continue serving in the RIN. After independence, the Indian share of the Navy consisted of 32 vessels along with 11,000 personnel. Rear Admiral John Talbot Savignac Hall headed the Navy as its first Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) post-Independence. In May 1948, Captain Ajitendu Chakraverti became the first Indian officer to be appointed to the rank of commodore. When India became a republic on 26 January 1950, the Royal prefix was dropped and the name Indian Navy was officially adopted. The prefix for naval vessels was changed from His Majesty's Indian Ship (HMIS) to Indian Naval Ship (INS). At the same time, the imperial crown in insignia was replaced with the Lion Capital of Ashoka and the Union Jack in the canton of the White Ensign was replaced with the Indian Tricolour.
By 1955, the Navy had largely overcome its post-Independence personnel shortfalls. During the early years following independence, many British officers continued to serve in the Navy on secondment from the Royal Navy, due to the post-Independence retirement or transfer of many experienced officers to the Royal or the Pakistan navies. The first C-in-C of the Navy was Admiral Sir Edward Parry who took over from Hall in 1948 and handed over to Admiral Sir Charles Thomas Mark Pizey in 1951. Admiral Pizey also became the first Chief of the Naval Staff in 1955, and was succeeded by Vice Admiral Sir Stephen Hope Carlill the same year. The pace of "Indianising" continued steadily through the 1950s. By 1952, senior Naval appointments had begun to be filled by Indian officers, and by 1955, basic training for naval cadets was entirely conducted in India. In 1956, Ram Dass Katari became the first Indian flag officer, and was appointed the first Indian Commander of the Fleet on 2 October. On 22 April 1958, Vice Admiral Katari assumed the command of the Indian Navy from Carlill as the first Indian Chief of Staff of the Indian Navy. With the departure in 1962 of the last British officer on secondment to the Navy, Commodore David Kirke, the Chief of Naval Aviation, the Indian Navy finally became an entirely Indian service.
The first engagement in action of the Indian Navy was against the Portuguese Navy during the liberation of Goa in 1961. Operation Vijay followed years of escalating tension due to Portuguese refusal to relinquish its colonies in India. On 21 November 1961, Portuguese troops fired on the passenger liner Sabarmati near Anjadip Island, killing one person and injuring another. During Operation Vijay, the Indian Navy supported troop landings and provided fire support. The cruiser INS Delhi sank one Portuguese patrol boat, while frigates INS Betwa and INS Beas destroyed the Portuguese frigate NRP Afonso de Albuquerque. The 1962 Sino-Indian War was largely fought over the Himalayas and the Navy had only a defensive role in the war.
Indian Navy flotilla including aircraft carrier INS Viraat
escorting INS Vikramaditya on its way home in 2014
Guard of honour at the INA, 2012.
From top to bottom: INS Ranjit, INS Jyoti and INS Mysore
INS Viraat approaching INS Deepak for replenishment at sea
Sea King helicopters operating aboard INS Viraat
21 Century Onwards
In the 21st century, the Indian Navy has played an important role in maintaining peace for India on the maritime front, in spite of the state of foment in its neighbourhood. It has been deployed for humanitarian relief in times of natural disasters and crises across the globe, as well as to keep India's maritime trade routes free and open.
The Indian Navy was a part of the joint forces exercises, Operation Parakram, during the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff. More than a dozen warships were deployed to the northern Arabian Sea. In October, the Indian Navy took over operations to secure the Strait of Malacca, to relieve US Navy resources for Operation Enduring Freedom.
The navy plays an important role in providing humanitarian relief in times of natural disasters, including floods, cyclones and tsunamis. In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the Indian Navy launched massive disaster relief operations to help affected Indian states as well as Maldives, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Over 27 ships, dozens of helicopters, at least six fixed-wing aircraft and over 5000 personnel of the navy were deployed in relief operations. These included Operation Madad in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Operation Sea Waves in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Operation Castor in Maldives, Operation Rainbow in Sri Lanka and Operation Gambhir in Indonesia Gambhir, carried out following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, was one of the largest and fastest force mobilizations that the Indian Navy has undertaken. Indian naval rescue vessels and teams reached neighbouring countries less than 12 hours from the time that the tsunami hit. Lessons from the response led to decision to enhance amphibious force capabilities, including the acquisition of landing platform docks such as INS Jalashwa, as well as smaller amphibious vessels.
During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, the Indian Navy launched Operation Sukoon and evacuated 2,280 persons from 20 to 29 July 2006 including 436 Sri Lankans, 69 Nepalese and 7 Lebanese nationals from war-torn Lebanon. In 2006, Indian naval doctors served for 102 days on board USNS Mercy to conduct medical camps in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia and East Timor. In 2007, Indian Navy supported relief operations for the survivors of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. In 2008, Indian Naval vessels were the first to launch international relief operations for victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. In 2008, the navy deployed INS Tabar and INS Mysore into the Gulf of Aden to combat piracy in Somalia. Tabar prevented numerous piracy attempts, and escorted hundreds of ships safely through the pirate-infested waters. The navy also undertook anti-piracy patrols near the Seychelles, upon that country's request.
In February 2011, the Indian Navy launched Operation Safe Homecoming and rescued Indian nationals from war torn Libya. Between January–March, the navy launched Operation Island Watch to deter piracy attempts by Somali pirates off the Lakshadweep archipelago. This operation has had numerous successes in preventing pirate attacks. During the 2015 crisis in Yemen, the Indian Navy was part of Operation Raahat and rescued 3074 individuals of which 1291 were foreign nationals. On 15 April 2016, a Poseidon-8I long-range patrol aircraft managed to thwart a piracy attack on the high seas by flying over MV Sezai Selaha, a merchant vessel, which was being targeted by a pirate mother ship and two skiffs around 800 nautical miles (1,500 km; 920 mi) from Mumbai.
Currently, the principal roles of the Indian Navy are:
• In conjunction with other Armed Forces of the union, act to deter or defeat any threats or aggression against the territory, people or maritime interests of India, both in war and peace
• Project influence in India's maritime area of interest, to further the nation's political, economic and security objectives
• In co-operation with the Indian Coast Guard, ensure good order and stability in India's maritime zones of responsibility.
Provide maritime assistance (including disaster relief) in India's maritime neighbourhood.
Command & Organization
While the President of India serves as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, the organizational structure of Indian Navy is headed by the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), who holds the rank of Admiral. While the provision for the rank of Admiral of the Fleet exists, it is primarily intended for major wartime use and honour. No officer of the Indian Navy has yet been conferred this rank. The CNS is assisted by the Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS), a vice-admiral; the CNS also heads the Integrated Headquarters (IHQ) of the Ministry of Defense (Navy), based in New Delhi. The Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (DCNS), a vice-admiral, is a Principal Staff Officer, along with the Chief of Personnel (COP) and the Chief of Materiel (COM), both of whom are also vice-admirals. The Director General Medical Services (Navy) is a Surgeon Vice-Admiral, heads the medical services of the Indian Navy.
The Indian Navy operates three operational Commands. Each Command is headed by a Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of the rank of Vice Admiral. The Eastern and Western Commands each have a Fleet commanded by a Rear Admiral. The Western Fleet based at Mumbai is commanded by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF) and the Eastern Fleet, based at Visakhapatnam, is commanded by the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF). They each also have a Commodore commanding submarines (COMCOS). The Southern Naval Command is home to the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).
Additionally, the Andaman and Nicobar Command is a unified Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Indian Coast Guard theater command based at the capital, Port Blair. Commander in Chief Andaman and Nicobar (CINCAN) receives staff support from, and reports directly to the chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) in New Delhi. The Command was set up in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2001.
Indian Navy has its operational and training bases in Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep, Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These bases are intended for various purposes such as logistics and maintenance support, ammunition support, air stations, hospitals, MARCOS bases, coastal defence, missile defence, submarine and missile boat bases, forward operating bases etc. Of these, INS Shivaji is one of the oldest naval bases in India. Commissioned in February 1945 as HMIS Shivaji, it now serves as the premier Technical Training Establishment (TTE) of the Indian Navy.
In May 2005, the Indian Navy commissioned INS Kadamba at Karwar, 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Goa. Built under the first phase of the Project Seabird, at first it was an exclusively Navy controlled base without sharing port facilities with commercial shipping. The Indian Navy also has berthing rights in Oman and Vietnam. The Navy operates a monitoring station, fitted with radars and surveillance gear to intercept maritime communication, in Madagascar. It also plans to build a further 32 radar stations in Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives and Sri Lanka. According to Intelligence Online, published by a France-based global intelligence gathering organisation, Indigo Publications, the Navy is believed to be operating a listening post in Ras al-Hadd, Oman. The post is located directly across from Gwadar Port in Balochistan, Pakistan, separated by approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi) of the Arabian Sea.
The navy operates INS Kattabomman, a VLF and ELF transmission facility at Vijayanarayanapuram near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. INS Abhimanyu and INS Karna are two bases dedicated for MARCOS. Project Varsha is a highly classified project undertaken by the Navy to construct a hi-tech base under the Eastern Naval Command. The base is said to house nuclear submarines and also a VLF facility.
Indian Navy has a specialized training command which is responsible for organisation, conduct and overseeing of all basic, professional and specialist training throughout the Navy. The Commander in Chief of Southern Command also serves as the Commander in Chief of Training Command. The Chief of Personnel (CoP) at HQ of Indian Navy is responsible for the framework of training, and exercises the responsibility through Directorate of Naval Training (DNT). The training year of Indian Navy is defined from 1 July to 30 June of the following year.
Officer training is conducted at Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala, on the coast of Kerala. Established in 2009, it is the largest naval academy in Asia. Cadets from National Defense Academy also move to INA for their later terms. The Navy also has specialized training establishments for gunnery, aviation, leadership, logistics, music, medicine, physical training, educational training, engineering, hydrography, submarines etc. at several naval bases along the coastline of India. Naval officers also attend the tri-service institutions National Defense College, College of Defense Management and Defense Services Staff College for various staff courses to higher command and staff appointments. The Navy's War college is the Naval War College, Goa. A dedicated wing for naval architecture under Directorate of Naval Architecture at IIT Delhi is operated by the Navy. Indian Navy also trains officers and men from the navies of friendly foreign countries.
As of 1 July 2017, the Navy has 10,393 officers and 56,835 sailors against a sanctioned strength of 11,827 officers and 71,656 sailors. This is inclusive of naval aviation, marine commandos and Sagar Prahari Bal personnel.
India uses the Midshipman rank in its navy, and all future officers carry the rank upon entering the Indian Naval Academy. They are commissioned Sub-lieutenants upon finishing their course of study.
While the provision for the rank of Admiral of the Fleet exists, it is primarily intended for major wartime use and honour. No officer of the Indian Navy has yet been conferred this rank. Both the Army and Air Force have had officers who have been conferred with the equivalent rank – Field Marshals Sam Manekshaw and Cariappa of the Army and Marshal of the Indian Air Force (MIAF) Arjan Singh.
The highest ranked naval officer in organization structure is the Chief of Naval Staff, who holds the rank of admiral
MiG-29K operates from INS Vikramaditya
Indian Navy P-8I Neptune aircraft deployed in Seychelles
HAL Dhruv during special operation
A demonstration by MARCOS during Navy day
Naval Air Arm
The naval air-arm of the Indian Navy currently operates twenty-one air squadrons. Of these, ten operate fixed-wing aircraft, eight are helicopter squadrons and the remaining three are equipped with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Building on the legacy inherited from the Royal Navy prior to Indian independence, the concept of naval aviation in India started with the establishment of Directorate of Naval Aviation at Naval Headquarters (NHQ) in early 1948. Later that year officers and sailors from the Indian Navy were sent to Britain for pilot training. In 1951, the Fleet Requirement Unit (FRU) was formed to meet the aviation requirements of the navy.
On 1 January 1953, the charge of Cochin airfield was handed over to the navy from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. On 11 March, the FRU was commissioned at Cochin with ten newly acquired Sealand aircraft. The navy's first air station, INS Garuda, was commissioned two months later. From February 1955 to December 1958, ten Firefly aircraft were acquired. To meet the training requirements of the pilots, the indigenously developed HAL HT-2 trainer was inducted into the FRU. On 17 January 1959, the FRU was commissioned as Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 550, to be the first Indian naval air squadron.
Currently the air arm operates an aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with ability to carry over thirty aircraft including MiG 29K, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King and domestic-built HAL-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. The Kamov-31 choppers also provide the airborne early warning cover for the fleet. In the anti-submarine role, the Sea King, Ka-28, and the domestic built HAL Dhruv are used. The MARCOS also use Sea King and HAL Dhruv helicopters while conducting operations. Maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations are carried out by the Boeing P-8 Poseidon and the Ilyushin 38. The UAV arm consists of the IAI Heron and Searcher-IIs that are operated from both surface ships and shore establishments for surveillance missions.
The Indian Navy also maintains an aerobatic display team, the Sagar Pawan. The Sagar Pawan team will be replacing their present Kiran HJT-16 aircraft with the newly developed HJT-36 aircraft.
The Marine Commando Force (MCF), also known as MARCOS, is a special operations unit that was raised by the Indian Navy in 1987 for Amphibious warfare, Close Quarter Combat Counter-terrorism, Direct action, Special reconnaissance, Unconventional warfare, Hostage rescue, Personnel recovery, Combat search and rescue, Asymmetric warfare, Foreign internal defense, Counter-proliferation, Amphibious reconnaissance including Hydrographic reconnaissance. Since their inception MARCOS proved themselves in various operations and wars, notable of them include Operation Pawan, Operation Cactus, UNOSOM II, Kargil War and Operation Black Tornado. They are also actively deployed on anti-piracy operations throughout the year.
The names of all in service ships and naval bases of the Indian Navy are prefixed with the letters INS, designating Indian Naval Ship or Indian Navy Station, whereas the sail boats are prefixed with INSV (Indian Naval Sailing Vessel). The fleet of the Indian Navy is a mixture of domestic built and foreign vessels, as of January 2018, the surface fleet comprises 1 aircraft carrier, 1 amphibious transport dock, 8 Landing ship tanks, 11 destroyers, 13 frigates, 23 corvettes, 10 large offshore patrol vessels, 4 fleet tankers, 7 Survey ships, 1 research vessel, 3 training vessels and various auxiliary vessels, Landing Craft Utility vessels, and small patrol boats.
After INS Viraat was decommissioned on 6 March 2017, the Navy is left with only one aircraft carrier in active service, INS Vikramaditya, which serves as the flagship of the fleet. Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov) is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier procured at a total cost $2.3 billion from Russia in December 2013. The Navy has an amphibious transport dock of the Austin class, re-christened as INS Jalashwa in Indian service. It also maintains a fleet of landing ship tanks.
15 conventionally-powered attack submarines. The conventional attack submarines of the Indian Navy consist of the Kalvari (French Scorpène-class submarine design), the Sindhughosh (Russian Kilo-class submarine design) and the Shishumar (German Type 209/1500 design) classes.
India also possesses a single Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine named INS Chakra. She is under lease to India for a period of ten years. Three hundred Indian Navy personnel were trained in Russia for the operation of these submarines. Negotiations are on with Russia for the lease of the second Akula-class submarine.
INS Arihant was launched on 26 July 2009 in Visakhapatnam, and was secretly commissioned into active service in August 2016. The Navy plans to have six nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines in service in the near future. Arihant is both the first boat of the Arihant-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines and the first nuclear-powered submarine to be built in India.