An impressive passing out parade was held today to mark the graduation of the 79th Helicopter conversion course at Naval Air station, INS Rajali Arakkonam wherein Seven Navy and three Coast Guard pilots were awarded wings by Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Flag officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Naval Command. The pilots underwent rigorous training for 21 weeks in flying and aviation subjects at the Helicopter Training School INAS 561 (HTS). The school has graduated 568 pilots for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard till date and is commanded by Commander Ashish Bhargava. Very recently the unit was also awarded ISO 9001-2008 certification. The base is commanded by Commodore Puneet Kumar Bahl.
Speaking on the occasion Vice Admiral Anil Chopra Reviewing Officer of the prestigious passing out parade has said that with new acquisitions that are underway, the Indian Navy is building a modern and potent air arm to add to the punch at sea. Besides the long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft like the TU and forthcoming P8-I they extend our reach and fighter aircraft like the MIG 29K that provide integral air defence and maritime strike capability, it is the ships integral helicopter which act as force multipliers for the fleet by augmenting the Anti Submarine Warfare, Anti Ship warfare, Electronic Warfare and surveillance capabilities.
The Governor of Kerala Rolling Trophy for the best all round trainee pilot was awarded to Lieutenant Mithun Rajith. The Flag officer Commanding in Chief Eastern Naval Command Rolling Trophy for the trainee pilot standing first in order of merit in flying was awarded to Assistant Commandant Nikhil Hebbale. A book prize for standing first in ground subjects was awarded to Lieutenant Mithun Rajith.
The graduated pilots would be joining operational flights at Mumbai, Port Blair Goa, Kochi, Vizag and Daman.