In a move that may upset India’s neighbours, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to convert the airport at Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into a full-fledged air force base. The J&K government has announced that the IAF will be making an air force base in Kargil and the issue of land allocation is being sorted currently. IAF will operate medium, heavy-lift as well as combat aircraft from Kargil in the near future.
According to the J&K government, the Kargil airport is to be extended by 1,500 feet to create an IAF base and the Indian Defence Ministry will be assigned with this work. Once the land issue is settled, the development work of the Kargil Air Force base will commence. India has decided that the Kargil airfield must transform into a full-fledged transport base by 2016 and the IAF aims to operate both medium and heavy-lift planes from there as well.
As of now, government teams are planning to visit Kargil in J&K to assess the land situation and chalk-out a roadmap for the air force base project. While the plan to create an air force base in Kargil was mooted last year, the J&K government as well as the Defence Ministry and IAF are finally materializing the project now. The idea to create an IAF base in Kargil is a logical outcome, especially after the 1999 military clash with Pakistan around Kargil.
Currently, IAF is already operating the medium-lift AN-32 transport planes from the Kargil airfield. The plan is to expand the 6,000-foot runway in Kargil to enable operations of all major transport aircraft such as IL-76 heavy-lift planes as well as the newly-ordered C-17 heavy-lift aircraft and C-130J Super Hercules from the US.
The development of the Kargil airfield is part of the IAF's plan to develop greater infrastructure in the north and north-east sector. IAF is also planning to develop the Nyoma air base close to the border with China in the Ladakh region of J&K. The Nyoma air base will also be converted into a fighter base and the Defence Ministry has been notified. The CCS is expected to grant the final approval soon.
source : http: // www. defencenow. com/news/575/iaf-to-turn-kargil-airfield-in-kashmir-into-an-air-force-base.html