Named after White Bellied Sea Eagle, Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur will be commissioned as INS Kohassa. Commissioning ceremony will be held on wednesday i.e. 24 January. Chief of Indian Navy Admiral Sunil Lanba will be the Chief Guest on this occassion. Kohassa is a large bird of prey endemic to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
NAS Shibpur was established in 2001 as a Forward Operating Air Base (FOAB) for surveillance in North Andaman. Located in the northern most part of the islands, the airfield holds strategic importance not only for the security of the islands but also for its overall development.
According to a press release, 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 will open up the opportunity for permanent basing of aircrafts at the Naval Air Station.
Presently, NAS Shibpur provides detached operations of smaller aircrafts of Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard with an airstrip of 1000 meter 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 3000 meter. This will enable the operation of wide-bodied civil and defence aircrafts in the future, said the press release.