Navy planning new air base in Karnataka

New Delhi, Mar 21: Strengthening its capabilities along the western seaboard, the Indian Navy is planning to establish a new naval air base in Karwar in Karnataka for operating both fighter and surveillance aircraft.

"We have plans of establishing a Naval Air Station at Karwar for basing and operation of fixed and rotary-wing military aircraft," Navy officials said on Tuesday.

The naval air base is part of the Navy's Rs 10,000 crore plans under the phase II of the Project Sea Bird.

Aircraft carrier 'Admiral Gorshkov', which India is getting from Russia, six Scorpene submarines and several other warships will be based there in the future.

The Navy already has an air base in Goa and has deployed its MiG 29K and Sea Harrier fighter aircraft there.

It has also placed orders for 29 more MiG 29K carrier- borne fighter planes from Russia along with the indigenous versions of the naval variant of the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas'.

Under the Phase-II of the Project, Karwar will get an armament depot, dockyard complex and missile silos, apart from additional jetties, berthing and anchorage facilities.

It is planning to expand the base to the extent where it can provide requisite berthing and operational fleet base facilities for the operation, administration and command and control of over 30 warships and submarines.

The Karwar base would be the third such major base of the Indian Navy and is being strengthened at a time when Pakistan is developing ports with the help of the Chinese and would also providing strategic depth to its maritime force.

It would also help the Navy in decongesting its base in Mumbai which has seen a significant increase in merchant shipping.


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