According to a navy statement, “The post has been created as the single point of responsibility for all matters related to aviation technical management of the burgeoning air arm of the Indian Navy. The ACNS (AM) will be responsible for planning and co-ordination of new induction air equipment and systems, repair and overhaul of all existing aircraft, aero engines and associated equipment and systems as well as provisioning of air stores.”
This creation of this position had been under discussion for a couple of years now, keeping in mind the growing challenges of anticipated maintenance, repair and overhaul, with the navy increasingly inducting newer platforms and looking at a significant jump in aviation capabilities over the next few years.
The navy statement pointed out that it operates ‘over 200 aircraft with over 20 different types including fighters, fixed wing Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’.
The naval air arm has recently commissioned its first MiG-29K squadron at INS Hansa in Goa and has recieved the first of it’s Boeing P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft (LRMR) at INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu. It also expects to see the induction of a large number of helicopters in the coming years, commensurate with the increase in the size of the surface fleet. The navy is also planning another aircraft yard on the east coast.
“Naval aviation is also seeing attendant needs for growth in infrastructure with addition of new air stations like INS Parundu in Ramnathapuram, INS Baaz in Campbell Bay and multiple air enclaves across the country,” said the navy in its statement.
Interestingly, Admiral Kanugo will report to the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Pradeep Chatterjee, and not the Chief of Materiel, Vice Admiral NN Kumar. This is because of the inherently operational side imperative of air maintenance, which can present an operational tempo different to other, more traditional arms of the navy.
The ACNS (Air Materiel) will have under him three sub-directorates looking at air logistics, plans/procurement and perspectives and systems engineering. Admiral Kanugo will also be responsible for air technical manpower management, including civilian technical personnel.
Admiral Kanugo was commissioned in 1981 and is an air electrical engineer by trade. He has earlier been Director of the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology at Kochi, Chief Controller of Naval Aeronautical Quality Assurance Service, Commodore Superintendent of the Naval Aircraft Yard (Kochi), Chief Staff Officer (Technical) at the Headquarters Naval Aviation and Principal Director at the Directorate of Naval Air Materiel at IHQ Ministry of Defense (Navy).
He was awarded the Vishist Sewa Medal (VSM) this year, for distinguished service to the navy.