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INS Shikra

The Indian Navy''s first helicopter base, INS Shikra, commissioned in Mumbai in January 2009. Chief of the Naval Staff and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), Admiral Sureesh Mehta, commissioned the helicopter base. Captain Philipose G Pynumootil was the first Commanding Officer of the INS Shikra. The air station, which first commenced air operations in 1964 with the setting up of a small helicopter maintenance unit, provides maintenance and flying support to a diverse range of helicopters operating from naval ships at Mumbai.

Operations from here are Sea Kings, Kamov 28s, Kamov 31s and Chetak helicopters. The station also provides air traffic control services to all civil and military helicopters operating in South Mumbai. The location of the air station close, to naval facilities, makes it ideally suited to support ship-borne helicopters of the Western Fleet as also their maintenance and training requirements. In addition, the proximity of the air station to Mumbai High and the Saurashtra region on the West Coast, makes it the preferred site to provide effective air support for protection and security of the national assets at short notice.

The Indian Navy is poised to play a greater role with the fragile security environment in the neighbourhood requiring it to maintain a high state of preparedness to deal with any developing situation. The effectiveness of heli-borne surveillance and deterrence during our anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden is an ongoing example of this capability.

Shikra, after which the Air Station is being named, is a small aggressive raptor with short broad wings and tall tail adapted for manoeuvrability, agility and speed. The crest of the air station depicts a bolt of lightning in the talons of a Shikra, symbolising the strike power of the aircraft. The red and grey body depicts spirit of the men of "blood and steel" who man the unit and constantly strive for excellence.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:42:46 ZULU