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Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology (NIAT) is the premier air technical training Institute of the Indian Navy. The Institute made its beginning in a modest way on 24 Jun 1956 and was established in a small hangar at Naval Aircraft Yard, Kochi (NAY (K)) on 03 Jun 1957 as Naval Air Technical School (NATS). Initially the school was tasked for imparting technical training to Officers and men on maintenance aspects of Sealand aircraft only. Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology (NIAT) is the premier air technical training Institute of the Indian Navy. The Institute made its beginning in a modest way on 24 Jun 1956 and was established in a small hangar at Naval Aircraft Yard, Kochi (NAY (K)) on 03 Jun 1957 as Naval Air Technical School (NATS). Initially the school was tasked for imparting technical training to Officers and men on maintenance aspects of Sealand aircraft only. Then Staff Officer (Engineering) Lt Cdr PV George was temporarily given the task of organizing the aviation technical training of Officers and Sailors. In March 1957, Lt VV Narayanan was made Officer-in-charge Air Engineering Training and Lt BG Madhukar, Officer-in-charge Air Electrical Training. The school started functioning in an igloo like building near NAY (K), across the Cochin Airport runway, with an initial training load of 10 courses per year. The school's responsibility of training grew steadily with the introduction of new aircrafts and systems. The school was formally commissioned on 03 Jun 1957 at Cochin with Lt Cdr VV Narayanan as first Officer-in-charge for undertaking the entire technical training requirement of Naval Aviation. In 1962 the school commenced training of all categories of aviation technical sailors. Technical training of pilots, observers and flight engineers was also entrusted to the school. Keeping in pace with the expansion of Naval Aviation the training load of the school increased over the years. By the year 1978, the number of courses conducted annually by the school including the officers' courses increased more than that of INS Shivaji and INS Valsura. Due to the inadequacy of space which posed problems for further expansion, the school was shifted to the present location (old Gunnery School) in the year 1978.
The training load necessitated upgrading the school to category `A' in May 1981 (NO 92/81) and Captain R K Agarwal was appointed as the first Officer-in-charge in its upgraded status. The school became functionally responsible to Flag Officer Naval Aviation and administratively under the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval Command, Cochin. In addition to its continued focus on improving the quality of training, the school ventured into the field of publishing technical journals for the benefit of aviation personnel. The first issue of Naval Aviation technical Publication `TAKE OFF' was launched in the year 1981 and Lt Cdr AB Patil was the first chief editor.
At present the school imparts aviation technical training to Air Technical Officers, sailors and air crews covering all the 04 disciplines of Aeronautical Engineering i.e. Air Engineering, Air Electrical, Air Radio and Air Weapon. The important mile stone that the school has reached is the conduct of Air Technical Officers specialization courses. Engineer Officers who opted for aviation arm were hitherto trained by Indian Air Force at Air Force Technical College (AFTC) Bangalore. The first Air Engineering/ Air Electrical Officers (AEO/ALO) specialization course commenced at the school on 28 Oct. 1983. Since then regular courses for AEO/ALO specialization courses are being conducted. The Apprentices and the Mechanicians who pass out on successful completion of the course are awarded the Diploma certificates recognized by Ministry of Defense.
With the induction of new aircraft the school grew considerably as additional facilities had to be created for their training. A need was felt to upgrade the status of the School to an Institute and a case was taken up with Naval Headquarters duly recommended by Advisory Council headed by Chairman Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri at its meeting during May 1998 at Kochi. This meeting was organized by NATS for first time in the history wherein the technical training establishments of Army, Navy and Air Force took part. The case was approved by the Naval Headquarters and NATS was re-designated as Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology on 21 Nov 1997 . The post of Officer-in-charge was re-designated as Director. Captain KPD Rao, the then Officer-in-charge, was re-designated as the first Director.
At any given time this Institute conducts 40 - 45 courses. At an average, 50 courses for officers and 100 courses for sailors comprising of 1600 personnel are conducted annually. The Institute has 26 classrooms, 5 workshops, 5 demonstration rooms and a well stocked technical library with over 5000 Air Publications and 3500 reference books on various topics on Naval Aviation. The docket library of this Institute has well stocked dockets covering more than 200 topics.
Today the Institute imparts technical training on fourteen different aircrafts namely Chetak (MATCH), Kiran Mk I and Mk II, Dornier, Islander, Seaking 42, 42A, 42B (ASW role) and 42C (Commando role), IL-38 (ASW role), Kamov-25, Kamov-28, TU-142M and Sea Harrier aircraft. Training is imparted to pilots, observers, flight engineers, flight gunners, flight signalers, aeronautical ground engineers, sailors of airframe, engine, avionics, electrical, air weapon, air photo and gunnery trades of the Indian Navy.
To widen the horizon of the personnel undergoing training and to have a wider interaction with Naval Aviation fraternity at large the Institute brings out Naval Aeronautical Journal "Take Off" on annual basis every January. This has wide range of articles contributed by personnel within Naval Aviation, DRDO organization, Indian Air Force & Indian Army. In addition, the Institute also brings out the project news letter "Prayas" annually every September. This contains information on new facilities setup and the projects developed in-house. This is circulated among the Aviation units to enable transfer of developed software projects on compact disc to these units for continued training.
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