Charbatia Air Base is located approximately 10 km north of Cuttack, Odisha in eastern India. It is an aerial reconnaissance post of the intelligence agency's aviation unit, the Aviation Research Centre (ARC). The Research and Analysis Wing, India's primary foreign intelligence agency, operates intelligence collection aircraft through the ARC. The aircraft are fitted with electronic surveillance equipment and long range cameras capable of taking pictures of targets from high altitudes. The base was built with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1960s and was used for aerial surveillance and intelligence gathering of China's strategic forces. The first aircraft was delivered in the mid 60's and was a WWII vintage C-46 which was outfitted with an oxygen distribution system for operator and flight personnel along with surveillance electronics and recording equipment at the Air America base in Tainan, Taiwan. The installation was supervised by the design engineer, a Mr. Kent Williamson. Mr. Williamson, along with other experienced personnel also deployed to Charbatia to train the first operator and maintenance personnel.
The air base is spread over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2). In 2011, the Government of India which controls the airbase announced that it will be converted into a full-fledged Indian Air Force station with six C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.