With INS Kohassa, India set to get fourth air base in the Andamans
INS Kohassa will be India’s fourth air base and the third naval air facility in the Andamans that overlooks key sea lanes of communication and strategic points. These islands dominate the Bay of Bengal with more than 60,000 commercial vessels passing through each year.Updated: Jan 24, 2019, 12:23 IST
To enhance the operational capability of Andaman and Nicobar Command, Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur will be on Wednesday commissioned as INS Kohassa, a Defence release said.
This will be India’s fourth air base and the third naval air facility in the region that overlooks key sea lanes of communication and strategic points. These islands dominate the Bay of Bengal and the Six Degree and Ten Degree channels with more than 60,000 commercial vessels passing through each year.
With the addition of this airfield, the Andaman and Nicobar Command’s ability to operate independently from all the areas of the Union Territory will get a great boost, the release said. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba will commission NAS Shibpur, which was established in 2010, as INS Kohasa.
The NAS Shibpur was set up as a Forward Operating Air Base (FOAB) for surveillance in North Andaman. Located in the northern most part of the islands, the airfield holds strategic importance not only for the security of the islands but also for its overall development.
Named after a White-Bellied Sea Eagle, which is a large bird of prey endemic to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, INS Kohassa will become the third Naval Air Base in the region after INS Utkrosh at Port Blair and INS Baaz at Campbell Bay.
Post commissioning, the station will function as a base for joint operation of both military and civil aircraft in keeping with the UDAN scheme of the government. At present, the airbase will be able to handle Helicopter and Dornier Aircraft. With commissioning the base will become self-contained with fuel storage, repair facility, manpower under a commanding officer.
As part of an expansion plan, the runway length will be be extended to 3000 metre. This will enable the operation of bigger civil and defence aircraft, the release added.
Former Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan had also said that the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a “very very important aspect” of India’s security, acting as extended arms of the country. Dhowan had said that India needed to deploy naval assets to the islands for surveillance in important sea lines of communication.