The base was established in 1940 by the Royal Navy of the then British Raj. The base was called HMS Vairi and hosted a Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy Air Yard (RNAY) known as RNAY Sulur, a repair base for aircraft operating in Southeast Asia during World War II. The base was burned down on 26 August 1942 during the 1942 August revolution. In 1943, the Indian Royal Air Force came to Sulur, which later transferred to Cochin in 1949. After gaining independence, the Indian Navy established INS Hansa at this place to operate Hawker Sea Hawks. After the liberation of Goa, INAS Hansa shifted to Goa's Dabolim airfield and Sulur was taken over by the air force. In 1955, the 5BRD (No 5, Base Repair Depot) of the Indian Air Force was planned and it started functioning in 1959. For some time this airbase was also used for civil aviation. Since 14 January 1984 this base has been a part of the Indian Air Force. The runway was also used for racing motorcycle and cars in 1960s.