VISAKHAPATNAM: The Indian Navy is planning to acquire additional land to create better infrastructure at INS Dega, the naval air station in Visakhapatnam, to allow more aircraft with civil and military purposes to operate on the eastern seaboard. The naval air station which also serves as the Visakhapatnam international airport, was rumoured to be in the process of being shifted to an alternative airbase proposed at Badangi near Bobbili in Vizianagaram district. However, the Navy officials rubbished any such plans.
Speaking to reporters here Thursday, coinciding with the arrival of the Boeing P8I multi-dimensional aircraft, INS Dega Commanding Officer Captain D Bhattacharya explained that the INS Dega was a very important naval air station on the eastern seaboard.
“The Indian Navy is developing the Bobbili airfield in Vizianagaram district as an alternative and diversionary airfield to shift some of the aircraft there in case of an emergency. INS Dega will continue to be our main airbase which is proposed to be expanded to meet the demand for increasing flight operations,” he added. The Badangi airstrip of World War-II era, has two runways and it will be developed further.
INS Dega is the only naval air station out of nine naval air stations in the country to launch Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) Hawk training to fighter pilots. At present, it has 11 AJT Hawk aircrafts and will acquire six more in the next two years.
“Soon after the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is commissioned in Visakhapatnam within three years, additional infrastructure will be created at the air station for a MiG-29 squadron,” Captain Bhattacharya said.
The air station has 40 aircrafts at present, including naval helicopters, and some more will be added soon.
Elaborating on the civil airport operations, Captain Bhattacharya said that the Indian Navy is providing all the support for the civil airport to run commercial flights, and plans are afoot to create additional infrastructure on both sides of the airport for civil and military purposes.
He said that the INS Dega was manned by Navy personnel round-the-clock to allow international flights.
The commanding officer said that about 50 aircraft, belonging to different countries, are expected to arrive at the air station during the International Fleet Review to be held in Visakhapatnam in February.
Visakhapatnam International Airport hosts the following flights per annum:
972 scheduled civil flights
360 non-scheduled civil flights
360 international civil flights
180 flights belonging to Coast Guard, Indian Air Force, Indian Army and other armed forces.
power-packed boeing lands in city
- Boeing P8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti Submarine Warfare (LRMP/ASW) aircraft of the Indian Navy made its landing at INS Dega air station of Indian Navy here Thursday, for static display during the Tri-Services meet of southern region. The Navy had acquired eight Boeing P8I aircraft from the USA and of them, seven had already arrived in the country.
- According to Captain D Bhattacharya, India is the first country in the world to purchase P8I aircraft from the USA, under a contract signed in 2009. Though the P8I aircraft are based at the Indian Naval air station at Arakkonam in TN, they will operate under the administrative and operational control of the ENC. The anti-submarine aircraft will consist of nine crew members. Its main purpose will be to detect submarines with the help of latest equipment.
- P-8I aircraft is the Indian Naval variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing has developed for the US Navy. The aircraft is equipped with both foreign as well as indigenous sensors for maritime reconnaissance. The aircraft is fully integrated with state-of-the-art sensors and highly potent anti-surface and anti-submarine weapons.