Kargil to be transformed as major Indian Air Force base

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New Delhi, Oct 3: The Indian Air Force is planning to develop the Kargil airfield into a full-fledged base to operate all types of medium and major transport aircrafts.

Addressing the annual press conference ahead of the Air Force Day on Oct 8, the IAF Chief, Air Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne said that IAF have decided to expand the Kargil's 6,000 foot runway to operate all types of major aircrafts like the Soviet base IL-76 heavylift planes, C-130J Super Hercules and the recently ordered C-17 heavylift aircraft from the US for emergency operations.

The Kargil airfield was used extensively for military operations during the Kargil war in 1999 against Pakistan. Since 1999 Kargil war, the Soviet-origin medium-lift AN-32 transport planes are being operated from the Kargil airfield.

In 1996, the Kargil airfield was opened by Jammu and Kashmir government for civilian aircarft operations and it was under the Airports Authority of India (AAI) till the Kargil war. After the war, the IAF has been operating the AN-32s from the airfield. The Jammu and Kashmir government has also been using the base for operating tourist flights.

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