INS Shikra - Navy's First Helicopter Base - to be Commissioned Today

January 22, 2009, New Delhi -- The Indian Navy will be commissioning its first helicopter base, INS Shikra, today (22 Jan 09). An impressive commissioning ceremony is planned at Mumbai to usher in the first helicopter base.

The Air Station, will be commissioned by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), Admiral Sureesh Mehta, PVSM AVSM VSM. Captain Philipose G Pynumootil is the first Commanding Officer of INS Shikra and will read out the Commissioning Warrant.

The Air Station, which first commenced air operation in 1964 with setting up of a small Helicopter Maintenance Unit, today, provides maintenance and flying support to a diverse range of helicopters operating from naval ships at Mumbai. Operations from here include Sea King, Kamov 28, Kamov 31 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 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 Commissioning of INS Shikra, will provide a shot in the arm, to the growth of Naval Aviation. The commissioning is symbolic, of the recognition of the important role played by naval helicopters in the maritime capability of our nation.

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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