September 29, 2022

Navy's equivalent of the AFTC

To, fulfilling the role of being a center for technical training in Aviation for the Navy, a A Naval Air Technical Services Center was set up in Kochi at around 1958. This was later renamed to the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology in the eighties. The NIAT is to the Naval Aviation, what AFTC Jallahali is to the airforce. Over the years, the Indian Navy’s technical officers and men graduated out of its portals.

NIAT’s ‘X-Ray’ aircraft, an Alize from the “Cobras” Squadron. Since only about a dozen of these aircraft were acquired , this is one of the five Alizes that have survived. Pic Courtesy: Sainik Samachar
Two views of the Alize showed the ‘de-skinned’ portions of the front fuselage and the undercarraige pod fairing. The identity of the Alize is revealed by the ’06’ number on the port side of the nose, leaving no doubt that this aircraft is IN-206. Pic Courtesy: Sandeep Unnithan

While getting to know about the real id of the Alize was certainly a find for us, the bigger scoop is the revelation about the existence of a Hughes Hu-263 two seater chopper at the NIAT. Prior to this it was believed only the example in the Naval Museum in Goa was the sole survivor. The emergence of IN-086 is a pleasant surprise.

Click to Enlarge Hughes Hu-263a IN-086 is the secnod such type in preservation by the navy. Pic by: Sandeep Unnithan
This view from the rear of IN-086 shows the slim tail boom of this little two seater. Pic by: Sandeep Unnithan Click to Enlarge

IN-086 must have been used for ab-initio helicopter training in the 60s before it was pensioned off along with the other chopper. However it is not the only helicopter here. The tail-less fuselage of Chetak IN-406 is the other. This Chetak is consists only of the main fuselage cabin. The whole tailboom and tail rotor assembly is missing. The main rotors too have been cut down to four foot stumps to accomodate the chopper in the Hangar. No history is known of this aircraft.

Click to Enlarge The Chetak IN-406 as seen at NIAT. The aircraft tail boom and rotor assembly is not present. Pic by: Sandeep Unnithan
The Kamov Co-Axial rotor shaft and gear box demonstration set up. Pic by: Sandeep Unnithan Click to Enlarge

Several other aircraft components are present through out the NIAT for instructional purposes. One such component is the gearbox and rotor shaft from a Kamov helicopter. The gear bos was cut away at key areas to show the innards. Though it is speculated that this came off a crashed Kamov, we do not have any confirmation on that.

Aircraft Type Serial No Remarks
Breguet Alize IN-206 Cutaway aircraft
Hughes Hu-269 IN-086 No.2 Survivor
Chetak IN-406 Fuselage – No tail section or full rotors

[Photos by Sandeep Unnithan ]

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