Indian Coast Guard

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Bharatiya Thatrakshak
English Title:
Indian Coast Guard Air Wing
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

Proposals to set up a Coast Guard service were first taken seriously in the early ‘seventies, when a committee was set up to examine the problem of seaborne smuggling and the feasibility of establishing such a service. The committee recommended the setting up of a Coast Guard service. This recommendation was accepted and plans were put into effect to create a Coast Guard service under the overall responsibility of the Ministry of Defence. In August 1976, the Maritime Zones of India Act was passed, which defined the Exclusive Economic Zones surrounding the Indian sub-continent where Indian sovereignty would be applied.

On 1 February 1977 an interim Coast Guard organisation was established, with the help of the Indian Navy, which began to put into place the necessary infrastructure for a national maritime policing service. The duties and functions of the service were formally defined in Coast Guard Act, which was passed on the 18 August 1978, and came into effect on the 19 August. The Coast Guard was to become responsible for the policing of over 2.01 million square kilometres of ocean, with the stated objective of providing offshore security, marine environmental security, coastal security, marine safety, scientific assistance and national defence. The area under it’s control was to include 1197 islands and a coastline of 7517 kilometres.

Begining in 1978 with two old frigates seconded by the Navy and five small patrol vessels, the ICG expanded over the following two decades to attain a force level of 52 ships and craft and 35 aircraft and helicopters. An Air Wing was formed in 1982 with Indian Navy assistance to aid the surface fleet. The first helicopter Squadron was formally commissioned in May 1982 and the first fixed-wing unit was activated in 1982.

One of the Coast Guard’s greatest ever tests began on 26 December 2005, when an earthquake off Indonesia triggered a giant Tsunami wave which caused massive destruction along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean. Coast Guard personel immediately began relief operations in the remote Andaman Islands from Port Blair, and in the regions of Chennai and Mumbai on the mainland. A Coast Guard Dornier 228 (CG 753) was also the first aircraft to deliver medicines and essential supplies to the Maldives within 24 hours of the tragedy. A total of 230 sorties were flown by aircraft and helicopters in the period up to 21 January 2006.

Key Dates

Sept 1974    Rustamji Committee set up to study creation of a coast guard service
31 July 1975    Rustamji Committee strongly recommends creation of the Coast Guard
25 August 1976    The Maritime Zones of India Act passed
1 Feb 1977    Interim Indian Coast Guard organisation created by the Navy
18 August 1978    Coast Guard Act passed in Parliament
19 August 1978    Coast Guard Act comes into force – ICG formally established
22 May 1982    First air squadron (CGAS 800) commissioned with helicopters
1982    First fixed wing squadron (CGAS 700) activated
June 1984    First trainee Coast Guard aviators qualify for their wings
7 July 1986    First two Do 228s handed over in Germany
March 2002    First Dhruv helicopter delivered

Current Status

The duties of the Air Wing are defined as: Air Surveillance of the EEZ, Ensuring Pollution Prevention measures, Providing Assistance to Fishermen and Search and Rescue. In recent years it has achieved some major successes in anti-piracy operations. The service carries out regular operations and exercies with the Indian Navy, to maximise operational efficiency.

Future Plans

The ICG has plans for an eventual fleet of 36 light observation helicopters, 12 rescue helicopters, 36 coastal patrol aircraft and 9 long range surveillance aircraft.


National Insignia

Current — Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbers

All aircraft and helicopters carry a three-digit serial number prefixed by the letters ‘CG’. Fixed wing aircraft are serialled in the range 7xx, while helicopters are serialled in the range 8xx. Examples are Do 228 CG 766 and Chetak CG 803.

Unit/Base Codes

Unlike Indian Navy aircraft, unit or base code letters are not carried.

Chetak CG 810. (photo, Simon Watson)


Aircraft Designations

Not used – manufacturers designation used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

A reported order for 5 BN-2 Maritime Defender patrol aircraft placed in 1980 did not result in any aircraft being delivered.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

The only serious accident suffered so far has been the loss of Do 288-101 CG 757 in January 1993.


Main Headquarters

Coast Guard Headquarters, National Stadium Complex, New Delhi 1100 01.

Organisational Structure

The Indian Coast Guard is commanded by the Director General at Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhi. It has three regional commands – at Mumbai (Region West), Chennai (Region East) and Port Blair (Region Andaman and Nicobar). There are 11 district commands – one in each coastal State on the mainland and two in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are six Coast Guard stations: Jakahu, Okha and Vadinar in Region West; and Tuticorin and Mandapam in Region East, under their respective district commands. The Air Wing of Coast Guard is operated from two stations and six air enclaves and has ten air units.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

Table of Historical Unit Assignments

All-Time Flying Units List

CGAS 700
CGAS 744
CGAS 745
CGAS 747
CGAS 750
CGAS 800
CGAS 841
CGAS 842
CGAS 848
Port Blair Chetak Flight

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

The Indian Coast Guard Air Wing currently operates from two main air bases, and a number of air enclaves along India’s coast. See listing below for details.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

ICGAW Air Bases Listing

More Information


Indian Aviation Bibliography – to be added


World Air Power Journal No.12 p.138


Indian Coast Guard Official Home Page
(Includes history, mission, organisation etc)

Bharat Rakshak Indian Coast Guard Page
(Indian-based website giving details of organisation, ships and aircraft))

Indian Coast Guard: A Profile
(Brief overview of the service)

Wikipedia: Indian Coast Guard
(Includes objectives, history, bases, vessels etc)

Leave a Comment