16 Observers including two Women Officers and a Coast Guard Officer as well as 07 Pilots joined the Aviation arm of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in an impressive Passing out Parade held at INS Garuda, the Naval Air Station at Kochi on 03 February 2017 which was reviewed by Rear Admiral Puneet Kumar Bahl, VSM, Flag Officer Naval Aviation.
Amongst the "Observers", Lt Amandeep Singh was awarded the Uttar Pradesh Trophy for being ‘First in the Overall Order of Merit’ and Dy Comdt Ankit Sharma was awarded Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command trophy for being ‘Best in Flying’ , while SLt Wasim Raza was declared the best amongst the Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers . Sub Lieutenant Abhishek Badial was awarded the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Southern Naval Command, trophy for standing first in ‘Overall Order of Merit’ amongst the graduating “Pilots”.
Addressing the parade after presenting the trophies, Rear Admiral Puneet Kumar Bahl, VSM, Flag Officer Naval Aviation, congratulated the graduating Officers including the award winners, and emphasized that Naval Aviation is the prized assets of our forces, providing constant surveillance across our waters and invaluable forewarning to our forces at sea.
The graduating "Observers" were trained at Observer School, commanded by Captain Arupananda Ghosh. These Officers would now function as ‘Airborne Tacticians’ onboard maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft of the Indian Navy. The graduating “Pilots” were trained at INAS 550, the oldest squadron of the Indian Navy, commanded by Commander Sanjay Gopinath, wherein they underwent a grueling training syllabus, both in air as well as on ground.