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Naval airbase INS Hansa to retain its importance: Navy

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PANAJI (PTI): India’s biggest naval airbase INS Hansa will retain its assets and position as an important station for the Indian Navy, despite the commissioning of INS Kadamba in Karnataka, a senior Navy official said Saturday.

"There will be a lot of ships in Karwar (INS Kadamba) and also there will be a short runway. But (INS) Hansa will remain Hansa. We would continue doing same thing which we have been doing. There will be no shifting of assets from this base," Commodore Ravneet Singh, Officer Commanding INS Hansa, told reporters.

INS Hansa, conceived in 1961 at Sulur, was shifted to Goa in 1964 after the coastal state became a part of India. The base, which also houses a civilian airport and 10 squadrons, is celebrating its golden jubilee.

Singh said the base had been exceptionally useful in curbing piracy and anti-social activities in Arabian Sea.

Recently, an IL38SD, a surveillance aircraft, operated from Hansa tracked a ship hijacked by pirates.

"IL38SD helps in tracking down the submarine and suspected ships in the Arabian Sea right up to African coast," Singh said. Besides, a Dornier aircraft is also available.

The base also daily handles 30 to 45 civil flight arrivals. "The airstrip had total 12,440 civil flights and 7,000 hours' of flying of military aircraft to its credit," Singh said, adding that the airport had clocked the highest number of departures of civilian flights among the airports operated by the Navy.

It is also home for MiG-29Ks that would be attached to aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, and Sea Harriers attached to aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

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