The 37 Wing Air Force Station at Car Nicobar has an area of 504 acres. The 3,000-feet bitumen runway built by the Japanese during their occupation of these islands between 1942–45 was extended to 8,886 feet by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1967. The first Mi-8 helicopter arrived here in 1982. Besides the No. 122 Helicopter Flight of Mi-8 helicopters, they have the Dorniers and an Air Defence unit here.
The airstrip was brought into operation by the IAF by raising Staging Post[clarification needed] in the year 1956, with its role as refuelling station for all aircraft flying across the Bay of Bengal. The Helicopter Flight was later inducted on 1 April 1985. The Base was upgraded to FBSU[clarification needed] on 23 August 1986 and subsequently as a Wing on 15 September 1993. The air base was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, when 116 IAF officers and men, and wives and children, died. Little remained of the air base, which was established as India's southernmost defence post. IAF personnel worked night and day: the runway was repaired, navigational aids and the basic infrastructure were put back in place. On 14 April, just three-and-a-half months later, the Car Nicobar Air Base resumed operations.