Indian Navy to operate UAVs from TN air station
CHENNAI: The Indian Navy is all set to operate a small section of
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the Naval air station at Uchipuli
on the south eastern coast of Tamil Nadu.
The move is expected to enhance the Navy’s surveillance capability
along the coast and the sea around the southern peninsula.
The Navy commissioned its first UAV squadron at Kochi two and half
Naval officials said that the move was “imperative,” keeping in mind
the conflict in Sri Lanka.
Uchipuli was finalised as an air station after recent visits of Vice
Admiral Raman Prem Suthan, Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral
Nirmal Kumar Verma, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval
Command, and Commodore Phillip Van Haltren, Naval Officer-in-Charge,
Tamil Nadu, to the air station.
According to officials, at least two Israeli-built UAVs based at the
Indian naval air squadron at Kochi might be operated from the air
station at Uchipuli, which is likely to be upgraded as a regular
commissioned air station.
Its present 3,000-foot runway will be enlarged to 6,000 ft, keeping
in mind future requirements. It is also proposed to acquire 343 acres
around the airfield to facilitate expansion.
“We will be in a position to station UAVs and operate them round the
clock within a year,” Commander P Rajkumar, station Commander, Naval Air
station, Uchipuli, told the media.