Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur will be commissioned as INS Kohassa on January 24 by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff and the addition of this airfield is expected to enhance the overall capabilities of the Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC).
INS Kohassa has been named after a White- Bellied Sea Eagle, which is a large bird of prey endemic to Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI).
NAS Shibpur was established in 2001 as a Forward Operating Air Base (FOAB) for surveillance in North Andaman. Located in the northernmost part of the islands, the airfield holds strategic importance not only for the security of the islands but also for its overall development, an official press release said.
"With the addition of this airfield, the Andaman & Nicobar Command’s (ANC) ability to operate independently from all the regions of the ANI will get a great boost. Basing of an independent naval unit with the requisite facilities and manpower will enhance overall operational capabilities of ANC," it said.
It will open up the opportunity for permanent basing of aircraft at the Naval Air Station. Presently, it provides detached operations of smaller aircraft of Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard with an airstrip of 1000m length.
INS Kohassa will become the third Naval Air Base in Andaman after INS Utkrosh at Port Blair and INS Baaz at Campbell Bay.
Post commissioning, the station will function as a base for joint operation of both military and civil aircraft in keeping with the UDAN scheme of the government.
As part of Phase II expansion plan, the runway length would subsequently be extended to 3000m. This will enable the operation of wide-bodied civil and defence aircraft in the future, the release added.
(Our News Desk can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)