Ramanathapuram (TN): As part of stepping up surveillance, the Uchipuli naval base in Tamil Nadu is slated to commission an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) squadron very soon. The main motto is to strengthen surveillance and reconnaissance in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait and Palk Bay (which were strategic locations).

The new squadron 'INAS 344', the Navy's third UAV squadron, would be operated from INS Parundu, the Naval air station at Uchipuli. The others are at Kochi and Porbandar in Gujarat.

According to Captain AB Bellary, Commanding Officer, INS Parundu, the squadron would comprise four units of two Israeli-built Searcher and Heron UAVs. It would have 50 sailors and 12 officers.

Infrastructure for operating UAV had been created, officials said, adding, professionals operating the UAV would be given training and their operational proficiency improved.