New Delhi. Indian Naval Armanent Service (INAS) 300, the premier fighter squadron of the Indian Navy has completed 60 glorious years, and is also known as the White Tigers. It has the rare distinction of operating all three fighter aircraft of the Indian Navy from all three Aircraft Carriers – INS Vikrant, INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya.
The White Tigers heralded the era of carrier borne aviation into the Indian Navy six decades ago with the induction of the Sea Hawk, which provided yeoman service for a little over two decades from the deck of INS Vikrant.
The squadron became the mainstay of power projection over the Indian seas and proved its mettle on various occasions including Operation Vijay in 1961, Indo-China war in 1962 and the Indo-Pak wars in 1965 and 1971 where the White Tigers earned nine gallantry awards including one Maha Vir Chakra and five Vir Chakras.
1983 ushered in a new era for the White Tigers when the Sea Hawk was replaced by the Sea Harrier which introduced the country to the concept of vertical take offs and landings and served with distinction for over 33 years from the deck of INS Viraat.
In 2016 the squadron underwent yet another re-incarnation with the 4++ Generation, Swing Role, Supersonic MiG-29K bringing back the art of Tail hooking along with the capability of Air Dominance from the deck of INS Vikramaditya.
In its current avatar as the MiG-29K training squadron, INAS 300 has the responsibility to produce top notch war ready, deck borne fighter pilots which can be relied upon to defend the fleet or carry out a precision strike on enemy warships when needed. As INAS 300 celebrates its Diamond Jubilee this year one thing is sure – whatever be the machine – the White Tigers will certainly tame and exploit it to the edge of its envelope to ensure secure skies over the Indian Ocean.