Kochi: Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba on Wednesday inaugurated a Naval Air Enclave (NAE) at the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) in Kochi in Kerala, an official spokesman said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Naval chief said: "The inauguration of the naval air enclave again revives the bond between the navy and civil operators which came to a halt with the shifting of civil air operations to CIAL."
Lanba said the naval air station at Garuda is limited in its operations due to space restrictions, bird menace due to very dense human habitation in vicinity and growing obstructions around the airfield.
The establishment of CIAL and KIAL (Kannur International Airport Limited) has offered a unique opportunity to the Indian armed forces to utilize them to meet their growing needs, he said.
The Naval chief said the setting up of a NAE will facilitate the operations of Boeing P8I aircraft from CIAL to enhance surveillance of area around the western coast and the strategically critical Lakshdweep and Minicoy Islands.
It would also enable timely assistance to neighbouring countries who share friendly and ancient ties with India. The naval air enclave would be utilised to accommodate and operate aircraft which cannot be operated from INS Garuda due to inadequate runway length available.
Kochi-based INA Garuda is one of the important naval aviation establishment in the western coast and houses numerous training facilities.
The function was attended by Vice Admiral A.R. Karve, Flag officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval Command, Rear Admiral R.B. Pandit, and other dignitaries.