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Indian Navy's first helicopter base to commence

india Updated: Jan 21, 2009 20:49 IST

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The Indian Navy will commission its first helicopter base in the country, INS Shikra, in south Mumbai from Thursday.

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta will be commissioning the helicopter base at a ceremony to be held there, an official release stated in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The air station, which began operation in 1964 with a small helicopter maintenance unit, now provides support, maintenance and flying-related aid to helicopters operating from naval ships in Mumbai.

Presently the Sea King, Kamov 28, Kamov 31 and Chetak helicopters operate from the air station which also provide air traffic control to civil and military helicopters operating in south Mumbai.

The proximity of the base to the Mumbai High oil fields and Saurashtra region of Gujarat make it important in the defence of the vital installations, officials said.