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IAF commissions its first modernised air field at Bathinda


NEW DELHI (PTI): The first upgraded air base in Bhatinda has been commissioned under a programmme which will see modernisation of 30 defence airfields across India, allowing operations of both civilian and military aircraft even in poor weather conditions.

The pilot project for Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI) was commissioned at Air Force Station, Bhisiana (Bhatinda) by IAF Vice Chief. The formal acceptance of the base is a significant milestone in the much awaited and ambitious air-field infrastructure development project of the IAF, Navy and the Coast Guard," an IAF release said.

"The upgradation of navigational aids and infrastructure under the MAFI project would enhance the operational capability by facilitating air operations of military and civil aircraft even in poor visibility conditions or adverse weather while enhancing aerospace safety," it said.

The pilot project is part of the IAF's Rs 2,500 crore initiative to modernise all airfields of the IAF, Indian Navy and Coast Guard in a phased manner and the Tata Power (Strategic Electronics Division) bagged the Rs 1,220 crore contract signed in March 2011 for upgrading 30 IAF and one Naval base at Kochi.

The Defence Ministry has already sanctioned the Phase-II under a Rs 1,150 crore programme.

The programme was required as the defence forces have seen induction of modern aviation platforms and upgradation of their existing aircraft fleet at regular intervals in the past.

"Need was also felt to upgrade the navigational aids and associated airfield infrastructure commensurately. Also, AAI and civil airlines operating from IAF airfields have been demanding installation of the Instrument Landing System and other navigational aids to avoid cancellation of flights during poor weather conditions," the IAF said.

The MAFI project includes installation and integration of CAT-II Instrument Landing System (ILS), CAT-II Air Field Lighting System, Automated Air Traffic Management System, Distance Measuring Equipments (High and Low Power), Doppler VHF Omni-Directional Radio Range (DVOR), Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) and associated infrastructure.

In this project, all navigational aids will be of international standards meeting the international civil aviation organisation specifications.

The commissioning of the MAFI project was marked by lighting up the runway with the new airfield lighting system and a Sukhoi-30 aircraft carrying out a sortie.

Addressing a gathering, IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal RK Sharma said, "MAFI project, by fulfilling the need to match ground infrastructure with capability of the modern aircraft, will enhance the overall capability of the India's air power."

"MAFI would substantially improve all-weather capability, aid the civil aircraft that operate from the joint user aerodromes, enhance aerospace safety and in the process aid growth of aviation sector in the country," he said.

Tags:

India  IAF  Military  

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