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INS Dega derives its name from Telugu word ‘Dega’ – a big & powerful bird of eagle family. The unit had a very modest beginning with the formation of a helicopter 321flight at INS Circars on 23 Dec 72. Four years later a helipad with a hangar was set up at Visakhapatnam airfield. On 12 Mar 86, Visakhapatnam airfield came under naval control from the erstwhile national airport authority (domestic). Naval air station (Visakhapatnam) was formed with one Chetak flight and a few disembarked helicopters of ship-borne flights. On 21 Oct 91, INS Dega was commissioned by admiral l Ramdas as a full fledged air station. At the time of inception, air operations from this air station were restricted to rotary wing operations and Dorniers from Vayudoot.
- The primary function of the unit is to provide operational, technical, administrative and logistic support to all service flying operations.
- The unit also undertakes supervision, planning and execution of operational tasking of all flying units based at INS Dega.
- The air station provides support for eastern fleet air operations of the Indian Navy.
- In addition to the above mentioned, the air station also undertakes aid to civil power during flood relief operations/ natural calamities.
- This air station has progressed at a very rapid pace and now undertakes flying in support of Fleet / ENC operations, as well as to meet operational readiness of the flying units.
- A new 10,000 ft long runway was operationalised on 15 Jun 07. Night flying by aircraft including fixed wing operations commenced from 16 Jul 07.
- With the opening of skies to private sector and establishment of off-shore drilling facilities on the Eastern Coast, civil air traffic has also increased by over 50 times from 1999 to 2009 and the same is being effectively handled by this air station.
- The air station commenced civil night flying operations with effect from 30 Mar 08 and is poised to become an International Airfield in the near future with round the clock operations.
The turn of the century saw an exponential growth in the air station’s assets with fresh inductions. To support seamless operational tasks/ missions, second line facilities were provisioned. The commissioning of INAS 311 and 350 on 24 Mar 09 have added new aircraft to INS Dega.
Few vital statistics indicating the operational status of this air station are as follows:-
(a) Five squadron/ flight and four ship-borne flights operate from the air station.
(b) Air adventure cell of the eastern naval command (including PHG and Skydiving camps) operate from the air station.
(c) More than 550 scheduled civil flights operate per month. The number of operations has been on the rise every year. A large number of non-scheduled helicopter operations are also undertaken by the air station.
Flight safety is a major thrust area of this air station. The number of incidents with regard to bird hits has been under control view proactive measures instituted by the station.
The Navy recognises the need for development of a fighter base on the Eastern seaboard. Accordingly, HAWK AJTs and MIG 29Ks would be based at INS Dega. For basing these aircraft, necessary infrastructure is being set up for the purpose.