CHENNAI: In a bid to bolster its activities in the Gulf of Mannar, the Indian Navy is planning to set up a forward operating base at Tuticorin. The establishment of a Navy Air Enclave at Tuticorin airport will complement the forward operating base, said Rear Admiral K J Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Naval area.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit participated in the Navy Day celebration that was held here on Wednesday. Kumar, while addressing the gathering, said the major Naval infrastructure projects include the extension of the runway at INS Parundu at Ramnad, from 3000 ft to 7000 ft, that will enable the base to operate heavier long-range aircraft.
Also, the Navy is setting up full-fledged Naval detachments and all associated support structures will be at Nagapattinam and Rameshwaram. Moreover, the Navy’s expansion plan for the coming decade includes induction of 51 seagoing platforms which consist of aircraft carriers, state-of-the-art destroyers and frigates, nuclear powered and conventional submarines and amphibious ships. “Out of the 51 platforms, 49 will be made in Indian shipyards, giving impetus to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India, which will also give our nation an opportunity to showcase its technological excellence,” said Kumar.
The expansion plan also includes induction of around 300 plus aircraft, ranging from Naval utility helicopters to long-range reconnaissance aircraft and we will acquire over 80 remotely piloted aircraft, Kumar said. He also added that the first indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will join the Eastern fleet by February 2021 and would hopefully make port calls at Chennai from time to time.
As part of the celebration, the sailors performed a drill and a sunset ceremony was conducted, which was followed by illumination by ships.