50 Years of Western Naval Command


Three years after its formation in 1968, the Western Naval Command (WNC) was in war-deployment mode with the OSA-class missile boats of the 25th killer squadron setting Karachi ablaze during Operation Trident and Operation Python in early December 1971. From that time till date the submarines which were on combat patrol are continuing to do till date.


The sentinels on the Western Seaboard the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy, remains mission deployed and totally focused towards the building of a resurgent maritime India.

The Western Naval Command (WNC) is the sword arm of the Indian Navy and naval operations conducted on the western seaboard would be central to the outcome of any conflict at sea against Pakistan. The western fleet is the two-star level operational formation of the Western Naval Command. The fleet at the WNC is based under Flag Officer Maharashtra Area (FOMA) and provides naval defence in the sensitive north Arabian Sea adjacent to Pakistan. INS Kadamba, a large naval base, was constructed under Project Seabird and completed in 2005. This naval base, at Karwar in Karnataka, is used exclusively by the Indian Navy. Mumbai is the Headquarters of Western Command. Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC is the current Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy. 

The Command has provided the supervision and support for the newly inducted Shishumar class submarines from 1986 including the indigenous construction of Shalki and Shankul in 1992 and 1994 respectively at the Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL). The latest Scorpene class submarine INS Kalavari has been commissioned last year with five more of the class to follow.

The mid 1970s saw a new era of maritime reconnaissance operations from INS Hansa in Goa and also in the later years from INS Rajali at Arakkonam. With the arrival of INS Vikramaditya, the MIG 29K Squadron is now the lead naval strike element since 2013.

During the Kargil conflict of 1999 and Operation Parakram in 2001, the WNC Fleet units held sway over the North-Arabian Sea, effectively thwarting any adversarial intent by the classic naval deployment in support of operations on land.

Ships of this Command were among the first international naval responders to the growth of piracy in the Gulf of Aden from mid-2008, subsequently INS Tabar and INS Talwar saw major direct action that led to a gradual decline in piracy by 2014.

They have been part of timely response of NEO (Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations) be it Operation Sukoon from Lebanon in 2006 to Operation Safe-Homecoming in Libya in 2011.

Source- Defence News

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