|Controlled by||Indian Navy|
|Occupants||Western Naval Command|
INS Kadamba is an Indian Navy base located near Karwar in Karnataka. The first phase of construction of the base, code-named Project Seabird, was completed in 2005 and the base was commissioned on 31 May 2005. Development of Phase II commenced in 2011. INS Kadamba is currently the third largest Indian naval base, and is expected to become the largest naval base in the eastern hemisphere after completion of expansion Phase IIB.
During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, the Indian Navy faced security challenges for its Western Fleet in Mumbai Harbour due to congestion in the shipping lanes from commercial shipping traffic, fishing boats and tourists. At the end of the war, various options were considered on addressing these concerns. Alternative locations for a base on the west coast were evaluated, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur and Thoothukudi.
In the early 1980s, then Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Oscar Stanley Dawson conceived of a dedicated naval base sandwiched between the craggy hills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea near Karwar in Karnataka state. Located south of the naval bases in Mumbai and Goa and north of Kochi, the location had significant advantages as being very close to the world's busiest shipping route between the Persian Gulf and east Asia and out of range of most strike aircraft from neighbouring countries. It also offered a natural deep-water harbour and significant land area for expansion, allowing larger aircraft carriers to berth. However, due to a variety of reasons, including the 1991 economic crisis, development was delayed.
In 1999, following Pokhran-II, then Defence Minister George Fernandes approved Project Seabird to pursue the construction of the new naval base at Karwar. Larsen & Toubro was the lead contractor for the marine works on the harbour, in partnership with Hochtief, Ballast Nadem Dredging of the Netherlands, Radisson of Australia and Nedeco of The Netherland. Over 5 km of breakwater were constructed using over 4.4 million cubic metres of rock to protect the harbour. The Binaga Bay was dredged and its rock outcrops blasted to allow even large aircraft carriers to turn inside the bay. Anjadip Island is one of the two islands to which the breakwaters are linked for reinforcement. A second channel will be added to the base to allow warships to enter and exit the port simultaneously.
Phase I expansion
Spread over an area of 45 square kilometres (11,000 acres) and 23 km (14 mi) of coastline on the Arabian Sea, Phase I of INS Kadamba was commissioned on 31 May 2005. The expanded base opened in 2007, with space for up to 11 front-line warships and 10 smaller FIC-type boats. Key facilities include the 10,000 tonne, 175 m x 28 m ship lift, a ship transfer system for dry docking at the Naval Ship Repair Yard, and a 141-bed naval hospital INHS Patanjali. Naval Ship Repair Yard commenced functioning in July 2006 and the ship-lift was commissioned on 8 November 2006. Commodore K P Ramachandran was the first Commanding Officer of Kadamba.
Phase-I was completed at a total cost of ₹2,629 crore (US$366 million).
Phase II expansion
Development of Phase II of INS Kadamba was supposed to commence in 2011 but got delayed due to lack of environmental clearance. The Phase-IIA expansion approval was obtained from the Cabinet Committee on Security in 2012, after getting approval from then Defence Minister A K Antony, and ₹13,500 crore (US$2 billion) were granted. The environment clearance for Phase II was granted in June 2014 on a priority basis for strategic reasons by the environment minister Prakash Javadekar of Narendra Modi government. The work will now commence in 2016 and is expected to be completed by 2022.
Under the proposed expansion plans, a 3,000 feet long runway will be built. If the Centre and the State send request to the Indian Navy seeking to utilize the runway for civil aviation aircraft, the runway length will be increase to 6,000 feet. Post completion as many as 30 warships can be anchored at the base and it would have a hangar to hold as many military aircraft. The Indian Navy, through the State government, has acquired 11,334 acres of land which includes 8,661 acres of forest land.
Phase II-A is expected to commence in 2017 and end in 2021-2022 with an expected cost of Rs 19,600 crore. The project is expected to generate large scale employment and infuse money into the local economy. In this phase, the base will undergo the following upgrades:
- 8 operational jetties, 2 refit jetties, 4 cover drivers and full-pledged dockyards to handle additional ships
- Naval air station for helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and medium transport aircraft with a civil terminal
- INHS Patanjali will be upgraded from 141-bed to 400-bed hospital
- Second Kendriya Vidyalaya
After completion of this phase, the base will have over one hundred thousand personnel working there, apart from their families living in an upcoming residential township. Apart from berthing the INS Vikramaditya, two more aircraft carriers will be homeported here. For this, two more jetties will be used. A few of the Scorpene submarines will also be based here.
- Initial Sanction - 1985
- Foundation Stone laid - 24 October 1986
- Acquisition of land - 1985–1988
- Master Plan & DPR - 1990
- Truncated Phase 1 sanctioned - Oct 1995
- Execution of project - 1995–2005
- Rehabilitation Phase 1 - 1995–1999
- Construction commenced - 2000
- Priority Housing - February 2003
- Breakwater completed - February 2004
- Sailors Residential Colony - July 2004
- Anchorage completed - November 2004
- Pier completed - February 2005
- Officers Colony at Kamath Bay - February 2004
- Docking of the first navy ship INS Sutlej - 4 December 2004
- Karwar Naval Hospital - Feb 2005 (Temporary location)
- Ship Lift installed - Apr 2005
- Visit by US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar - 12 April 2016
- INS Varsha, the other major naval base, which is being developed on India's east coast.
- Naval Station Norfolk, world's largest naval base.
- INS Vajrakosh, missile and ammunition base at Karwar
- INHS Patanjali, naval hospital at Karwar
- Karwar Airport
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