|Airport type||Naval Air Station|
|Location||Willingdon Island, Kochi, India|
|Elevation AMSL||8 ft / 2 m|
The original airstrip near Kochi was built by the Cochin Port Trust to transport senior officials of the British Harbour Corps from the Madras Presidency for supervising the development of modern Kochi port in 1936. During World War II, the rudimentary air strip was taken over by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1941 and expanded to establish a RAF experimental station. The Indian Air Force Volunteer Reserve (IAFVR) No. 5 Coastal Defence Flight, flying Westland Wapiti II aircraft was based at the station in May 1941. In December 1942, IAFVR No. 5 was disbanded, and resources transferred to HMS Garuda in Peelamedu, Tamil Nadu. In 1943, the Kochi facilities were transferred to the Royal Navy (RN) which established an aircraft repair yard at the location to assemble aircraft shipped to India for the war effort. HMS Garuda was decommissioned in September 1946 at the end of the war, and the Kochi infrastructure was transferred to the DGCA.
The Indian Navy acquired the first Short Sealand aircraft on 13 January 1953. The aviation facilities at Kochi were transferred to the Indian Navy and temporarily placed under the command of naval base, INS Venduruthy, on 1 January 1953 to prepare for operating the aircraft. The first Sealand aircraft arrived in Kochi from the UK on 4 February 1953.
The facilities were commissioned as a fully operational naval air station under the command of the Indian Naval Air Arm on 11 May 1953 and renamed INS Garuda. Commodore G. Douglas, was its first Commanding Officer.
Since then, INS Garuda has remained a strategic operating station for the navy, with several training schools, intelligence centers, maintenance and repair facilities and experimental stations based here. A separate civil enclave for domestic travellers was allowed to operate at INS Garuda, which remained operational until July 1999, when the Cochin International Airport was commissioned. The 747 Squadron of the Indian Coast Guard was activated on 22 Apr 2002 within the premises of Naval Base Kochi. The Squadron operates two Dornier 228 aircraft.
INS Garuda has 2 intersecting runways, allowing almost all operational aircraft to land and take off.
Indian Naval Air Squadrons based at INS Garuda as of 2011 include:
- INAS 550, a reconnaissance squadron operating Dornier Do 228 aircraft
- INAS 336, an anti-submarine warfare and advanced training squadron, operating Westland Sea King Mk.42B helicopters
- INAS 321, a search and rescue and logistics squadron, operating HAL Chetak helicopters
- INAS 342, operating IAI Heron and IAI Searcher Mk. II UAVs
INS Garuda also has a number of naval aviation training schools:
- Observer School trains pilots and technical personnel in maritime reconnaissance, patrol, evacuation and search and rescue (SAR) missions
- School for Naval Airmen (SFNA) and the Naval Institute of Aviation Technology (NIAT) impart theoretical training to naval aviation personnel and those associated with flying operations
- Aeronautical Training Institute (ATI) conducts training for officers and sailors in aircraft maintenance
- School for Naval Oceanography and Meteorology (SNOM)
INS Garuda also has facilities for imparting training in air-borne anti-submarine operations affiliated with the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) School on INS Venduruthy. The school's facilities include a Thales Underwater Systems LOFAR (Low Frequency Analysis & Recording) training simulator.
- Airport information for VOCC from DAFIF (effective October 2006)
- Airport information for TJV at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
- "INS Garuda: A Cradle of Naval Aviation". Sainik Samachar, Ministry of Defence. 2001-12-01. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Airport information for VOCC at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.
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