Indian Navy bids farewell to its UH – 3H helicopters - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Saturday 29 June 2024

Indian Navy bids farewell to its UH – 3H helicopters

The UH-3H helicopter entered service with the Indian Navy in 2007, along with the Landing Platform Dock USS Trenton 


By Ajai Shukla

In a de-induction ceremony held at INS Dega, Visakhapatnam on 28 June 2024, the Indian Navy bid farewell to its fleet of UH-3H helicopter after 17 years of meritorious service. 


Presided over by Vice Admiral Sameer Saxena, Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command, veteran officers and sailors of the UH3H squadron, along with their families, reminisced about the yeoman service of the helicopter.


The UH-3H helicopter will be replaced by Sea King 42C helicopter at INAS 350, to continue and deliver operational power and capability.


The de-induction ceremony of the UH-3H helicopter marks the end of a remarkable era that introduced innovative capabilities in Special Operations and Search and Rescue (SAR) missions. The operational role of the UH-3H in the constantly evolving and dynamic maritime environment will remain forever etched in the history of India’s naval aviation.


Brought into service with the Indian Navy in 2007, along with the Landing Platform Dock (LPD) USS Trenton, the UH-3H helicopter was inducted into INAS 350 and christened 'Saaras' on 24 Mar 09 at INS Dega, Visakhapatnam. 


This versatile helicopter played a crucial role in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations after the Indian Ocean tsunami, while also looking after the security of offshore installations and special operations. 


Its advanced Search and Rescue (SAR) capabilities and logistical support were vital during the post-tsunami natural disasters, often making the difference between despair and relief, and saving countless lives. 


The mighty ‘Saaras’ adorns the squadron crest embodying the motto "Strength, Valour and Perseverance." The Helicopter diligently upheld its commitment, maintaining a vigilant watch, ensuring the security of our nation's maritime boundaries with unwavering dedication.


At the end of its service life, one UH-3H helicopter will be permanently displayed at a prominent location in ‘City of Destiny’, Visakhapatnam, inspiring future generations. 


The Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command handed over a commemorative plaque to the State Government. The plaque was received by Shri K. Mayur Ashok, IAS, Joint Collector, Visakhapatnam to mark the transfer of aircraft. 

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