Porbandar Coast Guard air station becomes operational

June 12th, 2008 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, June 12(IANS) Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju Thursday commissioned a Coast Guard Air Enclave (CGAE) at Porbandar on the Gujarat coast to increase surveillance in India’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Kutch area. The air enclave will operate one Dornier fixed-wing aircraft and one Chetak helicopter that would also ensure prompt air-sea coordinated patrols, search and rescue and medical evacuation missions by the Indian Coast Guard in the Gulf of Kutch region as well as in the waters adjoining the coastal state of Gujarat.

Till now, the air squadrons of the Coast Guard were flown from Daman, which took long flying time and caused high consumption of precious fuel.

The significance of Porbandar lies in the fact that it is only 88 miles from Karachi and is located near the Reliance refinery at Jamnagar and Essar’s Vadinar refinery.

Beginning in 1982 with the induction of two Chetak helicopters for ship-borne operations, the aviation assets of the Indian Coast Guard have reasonably grown both in terms of number of airplanes, helicopters, operating bases as well as sophisticated sensors.

Today, the Coast Guard Aviation with an inventory of 17 Chetak helicopters, 24 Dornier aircraft, four Dhruv advanced light helicopters has the capability to launch air efforts from the west to the far eastern maritime frontiers of the country. This would be further strengthened with the induction of multi-mission maritime aircraft in the near future as envisaged in the Coast Guard Plan.

The aviation arm of the Coast Guard undertakes coordinated operations in support of the surface assets towards protection of our the EEZ, extend assistance to fishermen and mariners in distress, preserving and protecting the marine environment and assisting the local authorities during natural calamities.

“The Indian Coast Guard has a very vital role to play not only in the defence of the country but also in imparting meaning and depth to the country’s development efforts by playing a positive role in guarding our maritime frontiers,” a defence ministry statement said.

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