In a boost to the operational capacity of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, a third naval air base has been operationalised on the island chain by the commissioning of Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur as INS Kohassa yesterday (Wednesday, 23 January 2019), reports Hindustan Today.
Apart from being the third naval air base, it is also the fourth air base overall in the Andamans, which is a critical region as it overlooks important sea lanes required for communication and trade; dominating the Bay of Bengal, the islands witness the passing of more than 60,000 commercial vessels from their Six Degree and Ten Ten Degree channels each year.
The new air base is a huge fillip to the Andaman and Nicobar Command’s ability to act independently from all parts of the islands. INS Kohassa has been commissioned by Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.
NAS Shibpur had been operating as a Forward Operating Air Base (FOAB) for surveillance purposes since 2010, but will now be overhauled with self-contained fuel storage, repair facilities and permanent manpower under a commanding officer among others.
The runway will also be expanded to 3,000 metres and the base will now act as a facility for the joint-use of military as well as civilian aircraft.
INS Kohassa’s namesake is a type of White-Bellied Sea Eagle which is found across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This is the third Naval Air Base on the island chain after INS Utkrosh at Port Blair and INS Baaz at Campbell Bay.
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