Navy plans Rs 10,000 crore worth expansion of Karwar base

The Navy is planning a major expansion of its strategic Karwar naval base in Karnataka where it will berth its Russian-origin aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and carry out military aircraft operations.

In addition to the Admiral Gorshkov, the Navy plans to deploy Scorpene submarines and a number of surface ships to the base after completion of the Rs 10,000 crore project.

Project Seabird Phase IIA work will involve construction of a wide range of new facilities as well as augment existing ones to base around 30 major warships at Karwar after the completion by 2017-18.

The Navy is also planning to establish a Naval Air Station there for deploying fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Project Seabird has been dogged by long delays, fund crunches and truncated clearances since it was first approved in 1985 at an initial cost of Rs 350 crore.

Phase-I, which was completed at a cost of Rs 2,629 crore in 2005-06, has enabled the Navy to base more than 15 warships at Karwar.

Overall under the Phase-II, the Karwar naval station will get an airbase, armament depot, dockyard complex and missile silos, apart from additional jetties, berthing and anchorage facilities.

The Project Seabird was developed to decongest the naval dockyards in Mumbai which is choked due to increased traffic and pollution there.

Another reason was to create a major base at some distance from Pakistani cities and range of their missiles.

(ET 8JUL12)

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