Post Mumbai attacks, Indian Navy to commission first chopper base

January 21st, 2009 - 4:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Jan 21 (IANS) Bolstering its coastal defence capabilities in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, the Indian Navy will Thursday commission here its first helicopter base INS Shikra, an official said.”The Indian Navy has had an air station in operation (in Mumbai) since 1964 with a small helicopter maintenance unit. However, with the commissioning of INS Shikra, the navy will have a dedicated helicopter base,” the official said of the facility that will be commissioned by navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who is also the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The base will provide maintenance and flying support to a diverse range of helicopters operating from naval ships based at Mumbai. Among the helicopters operating from here are Sea Kings, Kamov 28s, Kamov 31s and Chetaks. The station also provides Air Traffic Control services to all civil and military helicopters operating in south Mumbai.

The location of the INS Shikra close to other naval facilities here makes it ideally suited to support ship-borne helicopters of the Western Fleet as also their maintenance and training requirements, the official said.

“In addition, the proximity of the air station to Mumbai High and the Saurashtra region on the west coast makes it the preferred site to provide effective air support for protection and security of the national assets at short notice,” he added.

“The commissioning of INS Shikra will provide a shot in the arm to the growth of naval aviation. The commissioning is symbolic of the recognition of the important role played by naval helicopters in the maritime capability of our nation,” the official said.

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