The 37 Wing Air Force Station at Car Nicobar is spread over 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 in 1967. The first Mi-8 helicopter arrived here in 1982. Besides the No. 122 Helicopter Flight of Mi-8 choppers , they have the Dorniers and an Air Defence unit here. The air strip was operationalised by the IAF by raising Staging Post 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 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. One hundred and sixteen IAF officers and men, their wives and children died in the disaster. Little remained of the air base, which was established as India's southern-most defence post. IAF personnel worked night and day to ensure that the air base was operational again in just three-and-a-half months. The runway was repaired, navigational aids and the basic infrastructure was put back in place. On 14 April, the Car Nic Air Base resumed operations once again.