INS Garuda completes 70 years of glorious service to Indian Navy


INS Garuda, the premier Naval Air Station of the Southern Naval Command in Kerala’s Kochi on Thursday completed 70 years of glorious service to the Indian Navy.
Commissioned on 11 May 1953, it is the oldest Naval Air Station which has been associated with the beginning of Naval aviation. Home to the first amphibious aircraft of the Indian Navy, the Sealanders, it has grown into a full-fledged air base operating some of the finest air assets of the Indian Navy. Also known as the ‘Cradle of Naval Aviation’, it has the unique distinction of operating the oldest as well as the latest aircraft available in the inventory of the Indian Navy.
The history of INS Garuda dates back to early days of the Second World War when Kochi airfield was built in 1941 mainly to set up an RAF experimental station.
This experimental station in the form of IAFVR No.5 Coastal Defence Flight consisting of WAPITI 11 was established in May 41. The flight was later disbanded in Dec 1942.
It was in 1943 that a proper RN Air Station was set up at Kochi for the sole purpose of assembling and ferrying out Royal Navy aircraft which were being shipped to India those days in knocked down condition. It is pertinent to mention that in 1942, Royal Navy had commissioned a royal Navy Aircraft Repair Yard at Peelamedu, Coimbatore (not Sulur) called ‘HMS GARUDA”. The Royal Navy Air Station at Kochi used to assemble and deliver aircraft to its parent unit ‘HMS Garuda’ at Peelamedu.